FSM President David W. Panuelo and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Tokyo on Nov. 14, affirming their alliance. Photo courtesy of FSMIS
Tokyo, Japan— Federated States of Micronesia President David W. Panuelo and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sealed their mutual commitment to the free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy, as FSM affirmed its alliance with Japan and the United States.
“On the issue of North Korea, the FSM stands with Japan and the international community on the important issue in condemning their human rights violations, including the abductions of civilians, and nuclear testing,” Panuelo said during a meeting with Abe on Nov. 14.
Panelo emphasized that FSM “will be on [Japan’s and the United States’] side all the time,” particularly when it comes to upholding the rule of law, promoting democratic values, and strengthening maritime security, such as efforts toward tackling illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Panelo extended his nation’s support for Japan’s candidature to join the United Nations Security Council in 2022, as well as for Japan’s permanent placement on the United Nations Security Council if and when the Security Council is reformed.
“The FSM is so confident in Japan’s role in regional and world stability and security that our country supports Japan for its candidature to the United Nations Security Council in the 2022 election. Furthermore, the FSM will advocate to the world that the United Nations Security Council must expand with additional permanent members—and Japan MUST be one of them,” Panuelo said in a press conference following the bilateral meeting.
Further, per Japan’s request the FSM will work closely with its Chuuk and Yap to assist Japan in retrieving familial remains left behind after World War II. Japan will be conducting an onsite bones survey in Yap in early 2020, and Panuelo emphasized that he will mobilize the appropriate elements of the FSM national government to work with the FSM State of Yap so that Japan’s support needs are fully met.
Abe for his part expressed Japan’s intention to “continue to strengthen [Japan’s] support for the FSM”, with focus on maritime security, infrastructural development projects, and human resources development through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Examples include Japan’s increased cooperation with annual iterations of Operation Christmas Drop, as well as extensive cooperation in regional security issues, among many others.
Abe noted that the Pohnpei State Port’s commercial and fisheries expansion survey will occur in May 2020. The Pohnpei State Port’s expansion is a priority in the Panuelo-George administration, and the FSM national government looks forward to its development.
While details are still being worked out, Panuelo and Abe also discussed the replacement of the MV Caroline Voyager.
“We will continue to strengthen our own support for the FSM,” Prime Minister Abe said to Panuelo. “We will strengthen our assistance for the sustainable economic and social development of Micronesia while coordinating with like-minded nations such as the United States and Australia.”
The FSM and Japan have 31 years of formal diplomatic relations, and more than 100 years of traditional relations.
“The FSM is proud of its Kizuna with the people and government of Japan and will do all that it can to continue to nurture and strengthen this special bond,” the FSM Information Service said in a press release.
The day before his meeting with Abe, Panuelo and Micronesia Registration Advisors (MRA) met with contemporary and prospective investors in the FSM to pitch FSM and its public-private partnership with MRA in a series of seminars.
Following the seminars, Panelo met with SoftBank Energy Corp., ABLE Overseas Reinsurance Company, Ltd., and KDDI Corp., among other major corporations, to strengthen the nation’s relationship with the companies.
The day was capped off with a formal celebration of 31 years of FSM-Japan relations at a reception hosted by FSM and MRA, whose task is to promote the FSM Captive Insurance Domicile and the FSM Corporate Registry Program to corporations in East Asia.
In addition to providing substantive value to major corporations that register in the FSM, the nation benefits insofar as—by law—50 percent of the FSM’s revenues from MRA-related programming are immediately withheld and placed into the FSM Trust Fund, ensuring long-term sustainability of the nation’s capacity to provide essential services to its citizens.
The FSM has made tremendous progress in 2019 to add value to companies interested in the FSM Captive Insurance Domicile and FSM Corporate Registry Program, including receiving a final rating of “Largely Compliant” by the OECD’s Global Forum (the same rating that Japan and the United States of America have), meaning the Nation has the appropriate legal and regulatory framework on tax transparency in place.
After the FSM president addressed investors, he was interviewed by Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corporation (Tokyo MX), a TV station that exclusively serves the Tokyo metropolitan area. In the interview, the President spoke at length about the Kizuna (special bond) between the FSM and Japan. The President invited Tokyo MX to visit the FSM in order to learn more about the FSM-Japan Kizuna.
Following the interview was a series of meetings, firstly with SoftBank Energy Corporation, secondly with ABLE Overseas Reinsurance Company, Ltd., and thirdly with KDDI Corporation. All three companies have captives/major corporations registered in the FSM and are considered very good friends. The Nation has an interest in maintaining and strengthening these friendships.
Citizens of the FSM may be most immediately interested in the outcomes from the meeting with SoftBank Energy Corporation, which is entering into a Joint Venture with FSM Petroleum Corporation (FSMPC/Vital) for the development of the renewable energy component of the Integrated Coconut Processing Facility on Tonoas, Chuuk State.
The President emphasized the nation’s interest in the partnership, advising that the Nation hopes the project on Tonoas is the first of many more to come in the future. “Our relationship with Japan overall, and its people and companies…[is strong because of our long tradition of friendship, and the stability of the FSM Government]. We really want to nurture this, and as President of the FSM, I assure you of my full support. Let me know how else I can show my support to you and to [FSMPC/Vital] on this project and others to come,” Panuelo said.
In the evening, a reception was held to celebrate 31 years of formal FSM-Japan diplomatic relations, the 33rd anniversary of the FSM’s Independence, and the 40th anniversary of the FSM’s Constitutional Government.