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PRESS STATEMENT April 27, 1999

Japan has provided US$ 408,000 to the South Pacific Forum Secretariat to help fund its 1999 development programme.

The funds were handed over to the Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Mr. Noel Levi, CBE, by Japan's Suva-based Ambassador HE Hisato Murayama.

"Japan recognizes the important role that the Forum Secretariat plays in the development of the region and we are confident that this assistance will again be put to the best possible use for the benefit of Forum member states," Mr. Murayama said.

In response, the Secretary General said the region was very appreciative of the strong and growing ties between Japan and the South Pacific Forum not only in regional economic development but also in other areas such as in the closer collaboration at international fora.

"This is a further demonstration of Japan's commitment to the region's development efforts and is the latest in an annual series of funding assistance that totals US$ 6.3 million since 1988.

"In addition to Japan's substantial contribution to programs at the Forum Secretariat and other regional organizations, the Government of Japan also makes significant contributions to individual member countries on a bilateral basis," Mr. Levi said.

The assistance to the Forum Secretariat will support activities in areas such as trade and industries development, promotion of external relations and law enforcement, economic development reform, and human resources development and training.

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