Japan is planning to strengthen its ties with the Caribbean Community, according to Ambassador Akira Yamada, the director general of Japan’s Foreign Ministry.
Yamada, who was speaking at the opening of this week’s Sixteenth CARICOM-Japan Consultation in Guyana, said the country’s “increased interest” had come thanks to its participation in OECS ministerial meetings in May and a visit by Haiti President Michel Martelly to Japan in December 2012.
Japan has been weighing increasing its development to the Caribbean recent months, particularly in the fisheries sector and general capacity buildling.
On the private sector side, several Japanese businesses have been investing in the Caribbean, most notably Mitsubishi, which signed an agreement to create petrochemical plants in Trinidad earlier this year.
Strengthening ties between the sides is part of what Trinidad’s Ambassador to CARICOM, Sir Edwin Carrington, called a focus on finding ways to develop a “framework to generate sustainable economic growth and development in the CARICOM region.”
“In this regard, we look forward to collaborating with our development partners in the international community, such as Japan,” he said.
Carrington said he was heartened by a commitment by Japan’s government to “drastically increase assistance” to the region,” despite the country’s own challenges in dealing with the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the global financial crisis.
CARICOM and Japan have had ties for two decades, and will be celebrating the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year next year.