Barbados and Japan have identified additional areas of cooperation that can lead to a deepening of the existing bilateral ties.
Japan’s Ambassador to Barbados, Kayoko Fukushima, and Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn, have identified climate change mitigation efforts, electric vehicles and charging stations, Sargassum seaweed and its effects on the fishing industry, and the export of products to Japan as possible areas to pursue.
During the courtesy call at Government Headquarters on Wednesday, Minister Straughn told the Ambassador that Barbados and other small island developing states were vulnerable to any climatic events and pointed out that Government was keen to accelerate its agenda response to building resilience against these occurrences.
“In other words, building resilience, will mitigate any long-term risk…. Certainly in Japan, and more broadly speaking in the Pacific Islands, you have typhoons and the damage they can cause to people. And therefore, we have to make sure that we are communicating with persons who understand the consequences and can work strategically to put the appropriate systems in place to support small states,” he said.
Mr. Straughn continued: “The reality is that we are in the hurricane season, between June 1 and November 30, and anything can happen as far as we are concerned, in the Caribbean.
“And therefore, if there is a heightened awareness … at this time of year because we know the impact it can have on all of our lives … it is incumbent upon us to make sure that we work strategically with partners who have a clear understanding as to the impact these things can have, and allow us to access whatever resources we can get, and work together to solve problems to help improve the lives of our people.”
The Minister touched on Barbados’ renewable energy thrust and zeroed in on e-mobility and the need to build out e-charging facilities across the island.
He also informed of Government’s value added tax holiday on electric vehicles – given the 2030 target to be fossil fuel free, while reducing its ever increasing fuel consumption bill.
Mr. Straughn shared with Ambassador Fukushima Government’s efforts to strengthen customs revenue collection and the need for more technical cooperation between countries.
In turn, the envoy noted Barbados’ interest in renewable energy, in particular the procurement of electric vehicles, and requested data on Barbados’ e-mobility. She also promised to seek out other areas for collaboration.
Japan and Barbados established diplomatic ties on August 29, 1967.