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2012.6.15
Inaugural Friendship Flight Connects Tokyo and Pohnpei

June 9th 2012 marked a historical event for the Federated States of Micronesia. On this very day, the first ever direct commercial charter on a United Airlines Flight 1864 connected FSM and Japan in less than 5 hours to commemorate the completion of the newly established Airport Terminal and the completed runway extension of the Pohnpei International Airport funded by Japan ODA.

On board this flight, coined the Inaugural Friendship Flight, were representatives from the Government of Japan led by former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, representatives of those involved in the airport construction project, leaders and strong supporters from the fisheries division, representatives from various NPOs and NGOs active in FSM-Japan relations, relatives and families of Japanese descents, and other special guests who have contributed greatly to a friendly FSM-Japan relationship, totaling 120 passengers.

On the evening of June 9th 2012, President Emanuel Mori awarded Mr. Hideaki Takizawa, a well known artist and actor, the countries first ever Certificate of a Goodwill Ambassador for FSM to Japan. On a later date, Vice President Alik Alik also welcomed 8 experts to the capital and awarded them each a Certificate of Tourism Promotion Ambassador for FSM.

The delegation enjoyed various excursions and activities prepared by the National Government and Pohnpei State Government, such as field trips to Nan Madol, cultural performances and other warm hospitalities. A portion of the passengers, including Mori sensei and groups of families with relatives in FSM moved to Chuuk, to be welcomed by the Government and People of Chuuk State.

This historic event concluded on June 13, 2012 with the return direct charter from Pohnpei International Airport to Narita International Airport on UA flight 1865.

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2012.2.7
Student visit from Koshigaya Chuo Jr. High School

Six students from Koshigaya Chuo Junior High School of Saitama Prefecture visited the Embassy today as part of their school’s excursion curriculum. This will be the first visit by junior high school students this year. The group was warmly welcomed by Assistance Administrative Officer Matsui, Administrative Officer Kusayanagi and Economic Attaché Suenaga.

After a brief tour of our humble little mission, the group was welcomed to the conference room where they were shown a short DVD presentation of FSM, after which they were given a brief orientation by the Economic Attaché of the historic, economic, and cultural background of FSM.

The students themselves, having conducted their own preliminary research, came prepared with some tough questions which included; Why hasn’t industry develop (in FSM)? Why hasn’t FSM kept to the Gentlemen’s Agreement (in regards to Presidency)? Why is your country so dependent on import to the extent of deficit?

The session also touched on FSM-Japan relationship as well as the scheduled PALM VI that will be held in May this year. The students were also urged to take active participation in international exchange programs and to visit the islands.

After an hour long briefing, the students concluded their short visit with a photo session and took a final tour of the embassy, taking photos of island posters and handicrafts.

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2012.1.13
FSM Congress Delegation attends the 20th Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Tokyo

Headed by Vice Speaker Berney Martin, a delegation from the FSM Congress was in Tokyo to attend the 20th Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary   Forum (APPF) held from 8-12 January 2012. The delegation members were comprised of Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Senator Roger S. Mori, Senator Yosiwo P. George and Legislative Counsel Tung Lam Dang.

FSM Congress was invited in 1991 by H.E. Mr. Yasuhiro Nakasone, former Prime Minister of Japan who is currently serving as the Honorary President of APPF, and was privileged to be one of the first countries to participate in the preliminary meetings of what was to become APPF, before the forum was officially launched in 1993. Since then, the FSM Congress has been an active member of this international forum.

The overall participation of the 20th APPF was over 340 participants from 22 countries including observers. Urgent agendas such as environment, climate change and regional security were covered at the forum, among many other important issues.

On this historic occasion of the 20th Conference of the APPF, the FSM Congress is tasked with the heavy responsibility of comprising the Executive Committee for two years. The outcome of the next APPF gathering scheduled for January 2013 in Vladivostok of the Russian Federation, will surely dictate the commitment of this important role that our Congress plays.

While in Tokyo, the delegation also had the opportunity to visit the chancery to meet with staff, friends from the parliament of Japan, and supporters of FSM in a small gathering hosted by the Embassy.

 

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2011.12.22
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

On Behalf of the staff of your Embassy and in my own name, I wish a Warm and Merry Christmas to all our Resident Citizen as well as the Members of your Family!! May the New Year bring us joy and good health!!

Yours Truly,

John Fritz
Ambassador

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2011.12.15
Courtesy Visit by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication

Mr. Hayashi and Ms. Kaneda of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication visited the Embassy for a courtesy call and were welcomed by Ambassador Fritz. The group conveyed their appreciation for FSM’s continual support and cooperation in bilateral and APT related schemes, and reported on their visit to Pohnpei which was conducted late October.

Ambassador Fritz, on behalf of the Government and the People of FSM, thanked the Ministry for their role in setting up school and community based Telecenters which are now playing an important role in the fast globalizing island societies.

The group further informed the Ambassador that feasibility studies of projects for FSM under the APT scheme are ongoing, and requested for FSM’s cooperation.

Ambassador Fritz noted that despite the hardship, Japan has been playing a commendable role as leader in the global community. The Ambassador further assured the members of FSM’s stance to enhance good working relationship with Japan on bilateral and regional level.

~~~~ Background Information ~~~~

Jointly founded by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the International Telecommunication Union in 1979, the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) now has a total of 42 full member and associate member countries.

 

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2011.10.13
FSM-Japan relations in Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) scheme

 

Members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication visited the Embassy for a courtesy call and were welcomed by Minister Renster P. Andrew, Deputy Chief of Mission. The purpose of their visit was to convey Japan’s appreciation for the continual support shown by FSM in Japan’s bid for the seat of Secretary General for APT.

Minister Andrew thanked the visitors for their tremendous contribution to the island’s telecommunication as well as hosting an APT workshop in which members from our own TC&I were represented. Minister Andrew informed the visiting group that telecenters that were installed with their assistance are a great asset to the education of school children and concerned communities.

The group further informed that they will be visiting our islands from October 18 for a survey tour to identify additional locations for future projects under the APT scheme. Two members of the group, Mr. Kawasumi (Advisor) and Ms Kaneda (Officer) will be visiting FSM and are schedule to meet with Secretary of TC&I along with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

 

~~~~~~~ Background information ~~~~~~~

Under the Asia Pacific Telecommunity scheme, Japan assisted in providing broadband connections to various places in our islands. These “telecenters” were setup as pilot projects for community/school based centers where people can enjoy the benefits of broadband connection. In Pohnpei, schools in Madolenihmw as well as municipal offices were equipped with broadband connection. In Kosrae and Chuuk, school-based telecenter were erected in existing schools of Walung elementary school and Sino Memorial elementary school to serve the students as well as the communities.

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2011.9.6
FSM Promotion and the Rainbownesia Project: July activity summary and the upcoming JATA Tabihaku 2011

July has been a busy month for Rainbownesia Project, a promotional concept for the Federated States of Micronesia currently in joint collaboration between the FSM Embassy in Tokyo, the National and State Visitors Bureaus, and the Rainbownesia Team.
 
The first to kickoff the hectic schedule was the annual 3-day event of Marine Diving Festival (MDF) held in Ikebukuro, Tokyo from the 8th – 10th of July. Although the first day was rather slow at 8,021 visitors, the number quickly picked up during the weekend. The second day saw a total of 23,987 visitors, and the final day total was 19,835 visitors.
 
Although there was speculation this year that the downturn of Japan’s economy following the 3.11 disaster will show unfavorable turnout of visitors, the total show up was just slightly less than the previous year (51,916) and stood at 51,843 visitors. According to the MDF Executive Committee, 80.2% of the total visitors were divers.
 
Representatives from Kosrae State Visitors Bureau and Chuuk State Visitors Bureau were present at the fair promoting FSM and their respective states. From Japan side, the Rainbownesia Team and the Tourism Advisor participated in the fair. Also present were tour operators from the State of Yap.
 
In this 3-day long event, the Rainbownesia Team was able to recruit 1,130 mail members and supporters of the Rainbownesia Project. The members were given a Rainbownesia Supporters Card that will allow them special benefits at designated Alliance Shops in the FSM. Members are also given interesting and useful information of the islands via periodic mail magazines prepared by the Rainbownesia Team.
 
The second event of the month, Kanku Tabihaku 2011, was held in Osaka Prefecture at the Osaka International Airport on the following weekend of 16th – 17th July. Although there was no official count, the Kanku Tabihaku Executive Committee estimated the visitor number at 13,000 on the first day, and 19,000 on the second day, totaling about 32,000.
 
Present at this event were representatives from Chuuk State Visitors Bureau and Kosrae State Visitors Bureau along with the Rainbownesia Team and the Tourism Advisor. Also present to show support was the Honorary Consul General of Kinki Region, and members of a longstanding association of FSM fans called Friends of Micronesia.
 
The Visitors Bureau, Rainbownesia Team, and the Honorary Consul General jointly hosted a seminar introducing the wonders of FSM. The Rainbownesia Team was also able to gather 824 mail members and supporters for this event.
 
The third event of the month, Pacific Cultural Art Festival, was held in Komazawa Olympic Park, Tokyo, on the following weekend of 23rd – 24th July. Although the nature of the event was predominantly Polynesian and Hula based, the Rainbownesia Team was able to gather 220 supporters and mail members. The FSM Embassy in Tokyo, along with the Tourism Advisor and the Rainbownesia Team took part in this event.
 
After 3.11, various events and activities were either postponed or cancelled altogether. For the same reason, the Marine Diving Fair, originally schedule around April of every year, was postponed to July. Along with the upcoming JATA Tabihaku 2011, these events offer major promotion opportunities for our small nation. With the help from the Embassy, the Visitors Bureau, and local tour operators, the Rainbownesia team was able to gather a total of 2,174 members for the three events held in July. Despite the damaged economy, it seems that Japan still holds a vibrant tourism market.
 
Another event, the JATA Tabihaku 2011, scheduled to be held in Tokyo from the 1st – 2nd October, is the last major tourism promotion event of 2011. This event will also be the deciding factor in the success of the planned direct flight from Japan to FSM, one of the most ambitious projects spearheaded by the Rainbownesia Project.
 
The Pohnpei International Airport which is currently under construction with assistance from Japanese ODA is schedule to be completed before summer of 2012. To commemorate this completion of the runway and other airport facilities, there is a plan to fly a direct flight from Japan to FSM. How well the National and State Visitors Bureaus, or the Government for that matter, can utilize the Rainbownesia Project in the final push to promote FSM during this upcoming JATA Tabihaku 2011 will undoubtedly affect the success of the planned direct flight and, hence, the number of Japanese visitors to our islands. It is no understatement to say that the fate of our Tourism Industry depends heavily on this final promotion event.
 

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2011.7.27
Nuclear Issue and Food Safety Information

A joint briefing was held today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) at the JETRO building. The briefing focused on the current nuclear issue and food safety concern, especially of contaminated beef.

1st Session:

Dr. Hiroshi Yamagata of Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) opened the first session by updating the audience of the current radiation standing and the situation at the reactors in Fukushima Prefecture.

According to Dr. Yamagata, STEP 1 of the Roadmap proposed by TEPCO, “radiation dose is in steady decline” has been achieved. Dr. Yamagata points out that the level of radiation leaking from the power plant has seen significant decrease.

He also notes that considerable progress has been made in cooling the damaged reactors. Currently, temperatures of most reactor units are stable at 100˚C and installation of cooling device for all units will be completed by mid-August. With the deployment of water recycle system provided by France and USA, contaminated water leaking from the water pool of the damaged reactors can now be filtered of radiation and reused for cooling purposes.

Having achieved STEP 1, Dr. Yamagata expects STEP 2, “Release of radioactive materials is under control and radiation dose is being significantly held down”, to be completed within the next 3 to 6 months.

View the following link for detail of TEPCO Roadmap;

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11041707-e.html

2nd Session:

The second session on food safety focusing especially on contaminated beef was presented by Noriyuki Shikata, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Relations and Director of Global Communications of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Noting that the source of beef contamination was already identified as rice straw contained in cattle feed, Mr. Shikata assured that the Government has set regulations and guidelines to be implemented on cattle feed.

He also mentioned that on a decision made on the 19th of July, the Government has taken precautionary measures and have banned beef produced in the affected regions from the market.

He also assured the audience that all cattle in Japan have individual ID and can be traced in case of incidents such as this one.

Currently, the Government has set 2 steps in cattle and livestock regulations to assure food safety. As step one, all cattle in the affected areas are to be examined of contamination before being placed on the market. As step two, at least one cattle per farm outside the contaminated area must be examined before being sold on the market. The current food safety standard for Japan in regards to radioactive contamination stands at 500bq/kg and is in line with ICRP regulations.

Mr. Shikita also commented that rice straw is only fed to cattle and are not used in other livestock feed. Most other livestock such as pigs and chickens are fed with products mostly imported.

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2011.6.30
FSM Students Visiting Japan

(Click photo for large view)

 

The FSM students met the former Prime Minister, Yoshiro Mori, on their visit to the diet building. Asked by the former Prime Minister if any of them intended to become President of their country, the students avidly raised their hands. Former Prime Minister Mori welcomed the students and assured the delegation of Japan’s continual support for the program.

Since its inception in 2001, the National Institute for Youth Education has been conducting student exchange programs with the Micronesian Countries and has this year marked its 10th Anniversary. This year 39 students and 8 chaperons from our four states participated in the exchange.

The students, ranging from 9 to 14 years of age, arrived in Japan on the 18th of June and departed 1st of July, 2011. Except for their excursion trips, the group was lodging at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center located in central Tokyo.

“We went to many places” commented one student, and that was no understatement. On their itinerary were tours to the National Diet Building and a visit to the Tokyo Tower among many others. As a young lady from the Yap delegation remarked, “the only thing I had trouble with… was the fast pace and early starts”.

On the 23rd of June, they visited Shoto Junior High School in Shibuya Ward of Tokyo where they took part in cultural exchange and other programs. Aside from interacting with their Japanese peers, the students engaged in sports activities among themselves as well as with students from our neighboring countries of the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Through these activities, the students were able to forge domestic and international bonds of friendship. As a representative from Yap commented “the friendship formed among Micronesians and Japanese is strong.”

The students also visited Nagano Prefecture, famous for its highlands located in the center of the Honshu Island, via the bullet train on the 24th to 26th of June. The students took a cable car ride to Kumagatake were they enjoyed snow, for some, a first time experience. “We did so many things, like touch the snow!” remarked a young lady from Kosrae.

At Nagano, the students also took part in youth exchange and home stay programs. The trip to Nagano proved to be a memorable event as a young lady from Kosrae noted, “we really liked our trip.. , and we already miss our host family…”

The group returned to Tokyo on the 27th of June. On the same day they attended a farewell reception with representatives from the Japanese Government and from the three Embassies of Micronesian Countries. All island groups entertained one another with speeches, songs, and dances.

Reflecting on their visit, a young lady from Chuuk remarked “I really think the 10 days experience (has) strengthen our friendship.” It was not surprising to find that she was not the only one who felt the sentiment. “I have mixed feelings, I am happy to go home but am sad to leave all (my) friends..” commented a young man from Yap.

Although most of our student groups left Japan on the 28th of June, due to the limited flight availability to our State of Kosrae, the Kosrae delegation stayed for extra days in Tokyo where they participated in further activities, including a visit to the embassy.

Although this program has been ongoing for a decade, this was the first time that students visited the embassy. The Kosrae delegation was welcomed by Ambassador Fritz and the whole embassy staff. The Ambassador gave a short briefing on activities as well as roles and responsibilities the mission is undertaking and urged the students to gambare in their school work, “as one day, you might be here in this position”.

The National Institute for Youth Education also sends Japanese students of similar age group to our country on an annual basis. This year in July, Chuuk State will be hosting the Japanese student delegation visiting FSM.

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2011.6.20
FSM-Japan Friendship Society Donation

FSM-Japan Friendship Society’s donation for victims of disasters in Japan
Press Release #0611-08

Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services

June 16, 2011
The FSM-Japan Friendship Society hosted a dinner last month at PCR for the purpose of handing over a check of $3,000.00 to His Excellency Ambassador Suzuki of Japan, to assist the victims of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant accident in Japan.

During the event, Senator Roger S. Mori, President of the Society, presented the check to Ambassador Suzuki, after conveying the Society’s sympathy and condolences for the victims and devastation caused by the triple disasters, and after briefly touching on the purpose and mission of the Society.  With the check, a letter from President Roger Mori was enclosed, transmitting the check, conveying the Society’s sympathy and condolences and urging enhanced collaboration between the Japan’s Embassy and society in the promotion of friendly relations between the Japanese and FSM peoples.

In responding, Ambassador Suzuki expressed profound appreciation for the solidarity, goodwill and support shown the Japanese people by the FSM Government and people during the most challenging times for his people and country.  He assured the Japan Embassy will work closely with the Society to promote further the enhancement and strengthening of our bilateral relations and people to people exchanges.

Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Asterio Takesy was given the honor of making the toast that evening after Vice President Takuro Akinaga of the Society had presented a gift of Sennit (Kizuna) to Ambassador Suzuki, symbolizing the historical and special bonds of friendship between our two peoples.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the individuals and local businesses who helped us raise the funds for our donation.  Without their cooperation  and support, the Society would not have been able to make the donation.  Thank you very much indeed.

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This article is provided by Public Information Office of the Office of the President and can be view from the following link (http://www.fsmpio.fm/).

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