JAPAN PRAISED BY MARSHALL ISLANDS FOR TOKYO SUMMIT PLAN

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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (September 5, 1997 - Marshall Islands Journal)---Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Phillip Muller said that the planned summit of Pacific heads of state in Tokyo this October will afford island leaders the chance to sit with the Japanese prime minister and other leaders to discuss Japan's role in the Pacific region.

"Forum leaders want to discuss with Japan about implementing economic and resource development of the region," Muller said.

Both President Imata Kabua and Muller are expected to attend the Tokyo talks for the Marshalls.

It was quite obvious from Japan's economic aid commitment throughout the Pacific that it sees a major role for itself in the region, the Foreign Minister said.

"There is no question that we need partners like Japan," he said. This was particularly true in terms of exploiting marine and other resources in the region -- resources that island countries lacked the technology and capability to develop, he said.

Muller said that he hoped other countries will do the same with Forum leaders as Japan is doing by hosting the summit meeting in October.

Noting that Japanese aid to the Marshall Islands was "quite substantial," he said that the next major project Japan is financing is the repaving of Majuro's roads. Once that project finishes in 1999, the government will be requesting Japanese assistance with rebuilding the old public elementary school on Ebeye, complete with a new multi-purpose center, classrooms and expansion to operate a high school.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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