Samoa has opened its Honorary Consulate in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
Attended by the former Deputy Prime Minister, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo, the office located at the headquarters of the Joban Kosan Company Ltd, was officially opened last Saturday. The Joban Kosan Company runs the Spa Resort Hawaiians hotel, a large Polynesian and Hawaiian themed spa resort in Iwaki City.
The ceremony also marked the formal commissioning by the Ambassador of Samoa to Japan, Faalavaau Perina Sila-Tualaulelei, of Naomi Inoue, President of the Joban Kosan Company Ltd, as Samoa’s Honorary Consul in Fukushima Prefecture.
The Honorary Consulate will work with the Embassy of Samoa in Japan in the promotion of Samoa as a tourist destination, to explore opportunities for trade facilitation, investment and business development between Japan and Samoa and provide consulate assistance to Samoan nationals in this region.
Ambassador Faalavaau in her remarks highlighted the events as “a momentous occasion for Samoa as it signifies the strength and importance of the bilateral relationship between Samoa and Japan and a desire for meaningful, deeper economic cooperation between the two countries”.
The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, the Mayor of Iwaki City, President of the Chamber of Commerce, senior government officials, Board members of the Joban Kosan Company Ltd and other local guests.
Fonotoe, who was in Japan on an official visit long planned and facilitated by the government of Japan, also spoke to acknowledge the support to Samoa by the government of Japan.
In efforts to further develop bilateral economic cooperation, Samoa has requested Japan to field its next trade mission to the Pacific in Samoa in July 2016.
Iwaki City of Fukushima Prefecture has connections of significance to Samoa. It hosted PALM 7 in May 2015 where the Honourable Prime Minister Tuilaepa was dubbed the ‘PALM Legend’ having attended all of the 7 triennial meetings.
The region and Samoa share similar tragic histories of tsunamis and proneness to other natural disasters. Samoa stands to learn from Iwaki city’s experiences of recovery programme implementation and disaster risk management.