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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 11) - Japan has told the island countries of the Pacific it acknowledges that the days when its fishing boats could catch as much as they wanted to in the Pacific are over.

Fishing issues were high on the agenda when the Japanese Government delegation held its Post-Forum Dialogue with Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers in Samoa.

The head of the Japanese delegation, Japan’s Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Masatoshi Abe, assured the Pacific Foreign Ministers that Japan would soon sign up to the Tuna Convention.

A Tuna Commission to oversee the management of a sustainable tuna fishery in the Central and Western Pacific is to be set up in Ponape in the Federated States of Micronesia later this year.

Speaking through an interpreter, Abe said Japan recognized the need for the Convention and the Commission.

"The time is over when we could catch as much fish as we want. And we have to think the same principle of conservation regarding tuna. So under the correct research and management we have to catch tuna and other fish, so I was very glad to see this took effect," he said.

The Forum countries also sought assurances from Korea, China and Taiwan that they, too, would abide by the new Tuna Convention.

August 12, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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