The Japanese government is establishing an embassy in Apia with the view of bolstering its diplomatic relationship with Samoa.
Expected to open at the end of March, the embassy will be located at the Samoa National Provident Fund (SNPF) Plaza on Beach Road.
It will offer full diplomatic services some of which had not been readily available to Samoans up to now. The man who is in charge of the project is “Counsellor” Kazumasa Shibuta, the Japanese government’s troublingshooting “ambassador.”
In an interview last week, Mr Shibuta reveals that he has been setting up embassies for his government all over the world. He says he has worked in some of the world’s “trouble spots” such as Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Islamabad, Pakistan and in the Pacific, East Timor.
In Tanzania he also worked as a volunteer photographer for the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA.) But it is setting up embassies that has taken up most of Mr Shibuta’s time.
In Apia, he has set up his country’s temporary embassy at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in anticipation of the arrival Japan’s ambassador to New Zealand, Mr Masaki Nogoya.
Mr Nogoya, who is based in Wellington, is planning to visit on 27 January to present his credentials to Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi. The presentation ceremony itself will be held on 29 January. But Mr Shibuta has other interests in Samoa other than in his country’s embassy that he is here to set up. He says he is fascinated with the idea that Samoans are known to have been among the most daring navigators in ancient times.
“Your navigation history saying your ancestors arrived some 3000 years ago should be respected,” he explains. Besides, he is finding the Samoan way of life unique especially in the way its people are managing to hold on to their “matai system (which is) very fascinating.” Mr Shibuta says it is Samoa’s “ability to assimilate in the modern world while preserving your traditions and culture that is very appealing.” He is in Apia with his wife Kyoko.
Looking past the politics of the last week or so, we are now at the start of the third month of the year, already.
This means Samoa has six months to complete preparations for the Small Island Developing States conference, known by its acronym S.I.D.S.
The truth is simple enough. It was awfully painful to watch the Manu Samoa Sevens last weekend. So much so many of us refused to watch completely.
The lack of fitness, lack of strength, poor skills, ill discipline, lack of self-belief and the absence of a game plan pretty much summed it up.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa is not the man you and I used to know. He’s changed. Insanely changed. Today he is no longer in the mood to enjoy being known as the prime minister of this country.
Not any more.
It’s the unmistakable truth. Questions surrounding the handling of the muchtalked about Officers of Parliament Committee report, in response to Controller and Chief Auditor, Fuimaono Camillo Afele’s report to Parliament for 2009 and 2010, will not go away in a hurry.