PACIFIC LEADERS MEET WITH KOIZUMI IN OKINAWA

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TOKYO (Pacific Daily News, May 16) - Representatives of several
Pacific nations will be in Okinawa today and tomorrow to attend a summit with
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and other Japanese officials.

The summit - called the Pacific Leaders Meeting, or PALM - is
the third meeting between Japan and members of the 16-nation Pacific Islands
Forum.

Delegates were in Tokyo yesterday, where they attended an
afternoon tea ceremony hosted by Emperor Akihito.

The results of the three summit meetings will be announced
Saturday morning, when a declaration will be adopted, followed by a press
briefing.

Island delegates attended a brief preparatory meeting yesterday
morning at Tokyo's Imperial Hotel.

"We need to expand trade and investment between Japan and
the Pacific Island Forum countries," said Republic of the Fiji Islands
Prime Minister Laiseni Qarase, who is chairman of the forum. "We have the
resources. We do not have the expertise."

Qarase said Japan is a very important source of tourists to the
Pacific islands, and said he hopes Japanese will invest in hotels and other
tourism infrastructure in the islands.

Among other things, members of the Pacific organization will
learn how much foreign aid Japan will commit to the Pacific during the next five
years toward education and environmental costs.

Japan, during an international meeting in South Africa last
year, pledged $2.14 billion toward developing nations.

During the last summit, in 2000, an agreement was reached to
seek ways to achieve sustainable development in the Pacific, resolve regional
and global issues of mutual concern, and strengthen the partnership between
Japan and the regional organization. A formal statement was issued, declaring
Japan and the organization would work together to protect the environment. A
progress report on those efforts is likely.

Qarase said the forum nations are responsible for their own
development, but backed by the assistance of Japan.

"I see Japan's role as coming in as a partner to supplement
or complement the efforts of the Pacific Island countries," he said.

May 16, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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