Japan and Barbados have both praised the strong bilateral relations they have enjoyed since 1967, and intend to build on the ???success of that friendship???.
In a recent courtesy call on this island???s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, Japanese Ambassador and Special Envoy for United Nations Affairs and for CARICOM-Japan Friendship Year, Ken Shimanouchi, noted that strong bilateral ties and areas of close cooperation had always existed between the two countries.
He attributed this to shared values, such as the democratic rule of law and respect for human rights.
???This is very important to us and Barbados is very forward-looking. One of the things that have been important to us is people-to-people exchanges. Barbados has been sending young people to teach English in Japan and they have been playing a great role in bringing us closer,??? said Mr. Shimanouchi.
Outlining his country???s review of its economic cooperation programme, the Ambassador said Japan could no longer support the view that Gross Domestic Product alone should determine a country???s eligibility for Official Development Assistance (ODA) status, and ???in view of the vulnerabilities of small island development states (SIDS), like CARICOM, Japan has interest in seeing more consideration given to vulnerabilities on the Human Development Index???.
The UN Special Envoy, acknowledging that Japan was seeking a non-permanent seat on the United Nation???s Security Council for the term 2016-2017, called for support of its candidature and noted his country???s guiding principle was human security ??? a concept Japan had been promoting for years that addressed priority areas such as health and disaster risk reduction.
Senator McClean, in expressing her pleasure at working with the Government of Japan, thanked Ambassador Shimanouchi for showing interest in the vulnerabilities of SIDS.
Signalling Barbados??? continued interest in working to overcome the vulnerabilities of CARICOM states, she said: ???I am happy that Japan is also factoring that in to get a more realistic picture of our needs??? We are pretty vulnerable to particular shocks and we see it much more where our economies are in recession. We appreciate that and are certainly willing to work with you.???
On the issue of support for Japan???s candidature, the Foreign Affairs Minister assured the Ambassador this would come as a result of a CARICOM-wide decision.
Pointing out that Barbados recognised the importance of disaster risk reduction, she said: ???We have seen the impact on our neighbours; on Dominica, St. Lucia and certainly Grenada in 2004. On the issue of health, we certainly were in the forefront of putting that on the United Nations??? agenda in terms of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs).
???Yes, these are largely lifestyle-related but are becoming significant issues for us and certainly around the world. So, when you talk of health issues, how we articulate that and what the emphases and priorities will be, CNCDs are critical to us.???
The two officials also discussed matters related to women???s empowerment in the workforce, renewable energy, climate change, and Japan???s recovery from recent earthquake and tsunami activity.