The Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele held bilateral discussions with Japan’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Mr Horii Iwao in Honiara on Wednesday (1st November 2023).
The visit by the vice Foreign Minister of the Japan was aimed at bolstering the bilateral relationship between Solomon Islands and Japan and clarify concerns by Solomon Islands over the release of the Fukushima treated nuclear water that Japan is discharging into the Pacific Ocean over a period of thirty plus years.
Minister Manele used the occasion to reiterate Solomon Islands position and the ongoing discomfort on the Government of Japan’s decision to discharge treated nuclear water into the ocean.
He said regional concerted effort led by PIF and member countries are ongoing and therefore sought the cooperation of Japan and the IAEA and in particular the opportunity for Forum member countries’ to be able to engage in dialogue with Japan and the IAEA on ongoing monitoring and evaluation of discharged ALPS water.
“Solomon Islands encourages transparency and sharing of information by the Government of Japan, and therefore call for full access to all data and information on the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the release.
“This is to enable an assessment of safety, and of environmental and health impacts or we request Japan’s Government to explore other option to discharge the ALPS water.
Apart from that issue, both leaders touched on bilateral cooperation and Japan’s support to the Solomon Islands in the Infrastructure, Health, Education and forestry sectors.
The Minister expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for the support in enhancing infrastructure development – particularly the handover of the newly completed Kukum Highway Phase 2 project earlier last month, and the successful delivery of the upgrade of the Honiara International Terminal building, which was officially opened on 15th March, 2023.
Minister Manele further acknowledge the ongoing support by the Government of Japan to remove UXO in the Solomon Islands. He said the Solomon Islands places enormous importance on UXO clearance and looks forward to continue collaboration on this issue.
On another matter, Solomon Islands registered the importance of respect for national sovereignty and non-interference into the internal affairs of each of countries and call for a more sensitive approach by the Embassy in the conducts of its relations in the country.
The discussions between both Ministers was cordial, friendly and constructive with further talks expected to continue during the upcoming 52nd Pacific Islands Forum 2023 meeting in Cook Islands.
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