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HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (February 23, 1999 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---During formal ceremonies in Honolulu today, Japan's Consul General, Gotaro Ogawa, presented a check for $363,000 to the Chairman of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders, Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.

The new funding will be used by the East-West Center's Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP), which serves as Conference Secretariat, to conduct research and meet the training needs of the peoples of the Pacific Islands region.

Consul General Ogawa, in announcing the contribution, said it "expresses the strong commitment of the Japanese government to sustainable development" in the Pacific.

In accepting the check, Prime Minister Rabuka noted that Japan currently is experiencing difficult economic times of its own but, by making another very significant development gift, shows the importance with which it continues to hold its Pacific neighbors.

Since 1978, Japan has provided a total of $3,639,000 to the East-West Center, primarily to assist with the work of PIDP.

Prime Minister Rabuka and other Pacific representatives are in Honolulu this week for meetings of both the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders and the U.S.-Pacific Island Nations Joint Commercial Commission.

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