The last phase of the $5.5 million Japanese Government assistance to the Fiji Police Force, funded under Japan’s Economic and Social Development Programme (ESDP) was completed today with the handing over of the $1.2 million patrol boat the M.V. Liga ni lawa.
The official handing over of the fast intercept patrol boat was conducted between the Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Fiji H.E. Mr Kawakami Fumihiro and the Minister for Defence, National Security and Policing Hon. Inia Seruiratu at the Royal Suva Yacht Club in Suva.
The Japanese Government started its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Fiji in 1979 and has provided assistance worth approximately $1.8billion over the course of 40 years to 2020.
In 2018, the Fijian and Japanese Government formalized a Grant Aid for the Procurement of Maritime Safety and Security Equipment for the Fiji Police Force worth $5.5million.
“As this is the first time for us to provide assistance in the area of maritime law enforcement, makes this project quite special for Japan-Fiji relations, because despite the difficult times experienced by most countries, we are widening our support for Fiji”, said Ambassador Fumihiro.
The Japanese Ambassador said Fiji and Japan shared a lot of common interests as nations of the Pacific Ocean.
“Such maritime heritage and commonality between Japan and Fiji makes the issue of a free, open and sustainable marine order under the rule of law, of central importance to both countries”.
In acknowledging the Japanese Government’s shared commitment towards building resilient and safer communities, the Minister of Defence, National Security and Policing the Hon. Inia Seruiratu said the Fijian people continue to benefit from the enduring partnership between the two nations.
“Despite the unprecedented challenges brought about by the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is reassuring that our nations continue to work together in meaningful solidarity to further engagements in areas of mutual interests such as climate change and infrastructure development to foster sustainable development and disaster risk reduction”.
“The Fijian people for over five decades have been fortunate to call Japan a genuine friend.
A friend that has stood by us since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1970”.
Under the $5.5 million grant aid, the Japanese Government has provided a patrol boat, rigid inflatable boats, rescue boats, diving equipment, underwater communication system and underwater cameras.
Fiji’s Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho conveyed the Fiji Police’s appreciation in the provision of the specialized maritime capabilities.
Brigadier General Qiliho said the Fiji Police is fortunate that the Japanese Government continues to keep its doors open as the organisation has much to learn and gain from the existing partnership.
“The Fiji Police has in place its own Maritime Unit/Sea Police Unit that will double as a disaster response unit during disaster situations”.
“Our request for these maritime capabilities is consistent with the operations posture of the Fiji Police noting our core roles during disaster situations in addition to our core policing roles”.