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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (February 19, 2002 - FSM Information Services)---On February 13, representatives of the State of Pohnpei, the Embassy of Japan and the National Government celebrated the completion of the Takatik Fishing Port in Pohnpei.

Funded by the Government of Japan, the Federated States of Micronesia Project for Improvement of the Takatik Fishing Port began on July 29 2000, as part of Japan’s ongoing bilateral assistance to the FSM.

Totaling over US$ 12 million, the two-part project was executed by Penta-Ocean Construction Co. Ltd. of Japan.

The First Phase, completed in March of 2001, provided the following facilities: 1. Office 2. Storage Area 3. Tuna Trans-shipment facility 4. Marine Surveillance Office

The Second Phase, completed in February 2002 -- a month earlier than its projected completion date -- provided a dock to accommodate multiple long-line fishing boats.

The inauguration of the dock on Wednesday morning involved turning over of responsibility from the Government of Japan to the FSM National Government, after which the National Government handed over the affairs of the port to the host of the project, the Pohnpei State Government.

Representatives of the three governments included:

National – Ieske K. Iehsi, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs Japan – Takenori Yamazaki, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim State – Lieutenant Governor Jack E. Yakana

Witnessed by President Leo A. Falcam and officials from the three governments, the celebration was truly a mixture of cultures. The opening orations, which included remarks of appreciation by the Chairman of Pohnpei’s Paramount Chiefs, Isipahu Wasalapalap Nanmwarki en Wein Madolenihm, was blessed with "Pohnpei rain" while a Japanese ceremonial drink toasted the completion of the project, which is anticipated to greatly contribute to the growth and development the FSM’s economy.

The completed project, according to the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ieske K. Iehsi, is ready to be put to good use for the well being of the people of FSM, especially the people of Pohnpei State.

Iehsi said a "host of opportunities are now available for better service to our people."

He referred to the project as a testimony to the strong relationship between the two governments and their peoples. "It is symbolic of the strong bonds of friendship between our two nations, a friendship based on close historical links and shared values and interest." Iehsi expressed pride in the relationship and reiterated the commitment of the National Government and people of the FSM to maintain the friendship on a "political and economic as well as on a human relations level."

Secretary Iehsi thanked the people and the Government of Japan for the important infrastructure development project, and also thanked Penta Ocean and Pacific Consultants International for their role in facilitating the success and completion of the project.

The project is anticipated to meet the maritime transportation and fisheries needs of Pohnpei State and the FSM.

Lt. Governor Jack E. Yakana, excited about the benefits that the project would bring to Pohnpei State, said, "Having an efficient transshipment port can easily contribute to the increased productivity of the other sectors of our economy.

"Shore side employment of our labor force will increase. Sales of local and imported commodities in our markets and stores will be increased. Simply stated, the multiple effects associated with a transshipment port can create a tremendous impact on the growth of our economy."

Economic growth and sustainable development was also the message from the Government of Japan. Chargé d’Affaires Takenori Yamazaki expects the project to have direct impact on the economic development of the nation, but most especially the State of Pohnpei.

"With fisheries as the backbone of the FSM and its states, and the most effective means of subsistence, I am confident that this improved docking area will facilitate the growth and fishing activities and commerce among the FSM states."

Yamazaki encouraged the State Government to use the new facility to "its maximum ability in order to realize the project’s goals and objectives while also ensuring its maintenance, to gain long and full benefit of usage."

Chargé d’Affaires Yamazaki reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to maintaining the strong ties between the two nations as the FSM continues its nation building efforts.

"The FSM and Japan have from the past worked together not only on a bilateral level, but also on a multilateral level, and it is my government’s wish that our countries will continue to work together on those levels and also continue to join forces in mutual interest such as global issues, climate change, anti-terrorism and many others."

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