Home Politics Backbenchers’ decline meeting with Japan Minister as he waits on PM’s response

Backbenchers’ decline meeting with Japan Minister as he waits on PM’s response

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State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Horii Iwao speaking to the media today
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Though government backbenchers (MPs’) have declined to meet with him during a bipartisan meeting today, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Horii Iwao, is still hopeful to meet with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare before he flies out on Thursday.

However, by 5pm tonight there was still no response from the Office of the Prime Minister on the minister’s request for the meeting.

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Iwao was sent by the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, and the Foreign Minister, Yōko Kamikawa, to convey a message to Sogavare following his statement at the United Nations General Assembly on the release of the ALPS treated water by Japan.

Before his arrival, the Japanese Embassy in Honiara had sought the Office of the Prime Minister for Iwao to meet with Sogavare to convey his PM’s message to him.

But with time ticking away and the Japanese State Minister flying out tomorrow, he was still waiting for a response from the PM.

“If 2, 3 minutes I will be grateful I am here on behalf of the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Japan,” said Iwao today.

“We fully understand the Prime Minister’s tight schedule. I did convey the message to Manele (Minister of Foreign Affairs). Now we are just waiting for an opportunity to come around— but that will be totally depending on the schedule of the Prime Minister. We do fully understand, diplomacy, it’s ok.

“If the minister conveys the message to the Prime Minister is much better,” said Ambassador Miwa Yoshiaki.

Whilst the visiting Japanese minister still waits for the PM, his back-beachers today declined in the last minute an invitation to meet with the Japanese minister in a planned bi-partisan meeting.

It left only a few MPs from the opposition bench to meet with Iwao.

Ambassador Miwa confirmed to journalists this afternoon that they had invited all backbenchers and those in the opposition for the bi-partisan meeting.

“We understood that until yesterday afternoon that the backbenchers would be attending but in the last minute we got information that they would not be attending,” said ambassador Miwa.

Minister Iwao is in the country to convey what he describes as factual information on the release of the ALPS treated water from Fukushima nuclear power plant.

He pointed out that the release of ALPS treated water meets the IAEA standards and also based on scientific evidence compared to other countries.

“We hope that the Solomon Islands Government understands this in the near future,” he said.

At the UNGA, Sogavare blasted Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, describing it as an attack on global trust and solidarity.

He said Solomon Islands stands with like-minded Pacific islanders and was appalled by Japan’s decision to discharge over 1 million tons of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean.

Iwao insisted that facts are important. In that regard, he said, most countries understand and accept as decision to discharge was made on the approval of IAEA. However, he said only a few countries still have different views on this issue and Solomon Islands is one of them.

“Solomon Islands is our great friend and is very important. It is our responsibility to continuously explain and provide information and have them understand it – to avoid misunderstanding. That’s very important,” he said.

News@SBMOnline2023

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