Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has concluded a successful visit to Japan.
The visit, from 13-20 May began with the Prime Minister’s Official Visit as an official guest of the Prime Minister of Japan on 13-16 May.
This was followed by attending the P.A.L.M. 8 Meeting as Co-Chair with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his capacity as the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum on 17-19 May.
Tuilaepa then attended the Samoa-Iwaki International Exchange Program on 19-20 May before returning to Samoa on 21 May.
Throughout the duration of the Prime Minister’s Official Visit, the streets of the central business and government districts of Tokyo were lined with Samoa and Japan’s flags side by side signifying the presence of an Official Guest of the Government of Japan.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa had bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, with former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, the Minister of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology Yoshimasa Hayashi and Parliamentarians from the Japan-Samoa Friendship Leagues and the Japan-Pacific Islands Friendship Association.
Discussions focused on ways and means to further strengthen Japan and Samoa’s bilateral relations that started in 1973.
Other key areas of discussion included support for pre-training camps and sports initiatives in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympics Games.
On Tuesday, 15 May after the bilateral meeting with PM Abe, Prime Minister Tuilaepa was conferred the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by Prime Minister Abe on behalf of Japan, in recognition of Tuilaepa’s distinguished contribution in strengthening and promoting friendly relations between Samoa and Japan.
The Order of the Rising Sun is the highest Order in Japan that is awarded to non-Japanese nationals for distinguished contributions for the promotion of international relations with Japan. The Official Visit rounded up with an Audience with Their Majesties, Emperor and Empress of Japan on Wednesday 16 May.
Following the Official Visit, the Prime Minister undertook his role as the Pacific Island Forum Chairman to Co-Chair with Prime Minister Abe the P.A.L.M. 8 Summit. This P.A.L.M. 8 Summit is held every three years between Pacific Island Forum members and Japan. This year’s P.A.L.M. 8 Summit will be held in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture on the 18th and 19th May 2018.
After the P.A.L.M. 8 meeting, Prime Minister Tuilaepa and delegation attended the Samoa-Iwaki international sports and cultural exchange program on 19th and 20th May where 8 college students from Samoa forming Samoa’s Under 18 rugby sevens team and S.R.U. members are in Iwaki for joint training and rugby matches with Iwaki colleges and Japan’s national Under 18 rugby sevens teams.
Samoa’s Under 18 Sevens had a match with selected Iwaki Under 18 rugby teams on 19 May, and with Japan’s national Under 18 team on 20th May.
Samoa won both games.
The students also opened the official entertainment for the P.A.L.M. 8 Summit with a cultural performance.
The Prime Minister also made a visit to the Samoa Honorary Consulate in Iwaki City that was established in March 2016 and to the newly established Eveni Pacific outlet at Spa Resort Hawaiians.
The Prime Minister’s delegation included Mrs. Gillian Malielegaoi, Spouse of Prime Minister, Loau Keneti Sio, Minister of Education, Sports and Culture and Peseta Noumea Simi, C.E.O. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
They were joined by Fa’alavaau Perina J. Sila and Justin Lima, Counsellor of the Embassy of Samoa in Tokyo.