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Head of Japan's donor agency says enhanced college education key to curbing brain drain in FSM

FSM President Wesley Simina with Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency,. Photo courtesy of FSMIS

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Palikir, Pohnpei – Boosting higher education in the Federated States of Micronesia could reduce the young Micronesians' emigration, according to the head of Japan's top donor agency.

Akihiko Tanaka, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, made the suggestion during a meeting with FSM President Wesley W. Simina, who raised concerns about the nation's brain drain problem.

Simina expressed hope that FSM students who pursue education in Japan would return to contribute to their home country.

He noted the need for improved infrastructure and strategic development plans to retain and utilize the skills of FSM’s young citizens.

Tanaka suggested that enhancing higher education within the FSM, similar to JICA’s support for the University of the South Pacific, could help in retaining talent and attracting both local and international students, including those from Japan.

Simina welcomed Tanaka during a historic visit to the FSM, which the Micronesian government said underscored "a significant milestone in the bilateral relationship between FSM and JICA."

Tanaka highlighted the significance of human capacity development in enhancing unity, stressing the need to cultivate capable administrators across various sectors, including communication, fisheries and education.

Tanaka reaffirmed the robust ties between JICA and the FSM, emphasizing JICA's commitment to aligning its initiatives with Simina’s vision and the FSM government’s priorities.

Tanaka requested Simina to share the national plans and strategic focus areas of the FSM to ensure coherent collaboration.

Simina articulated his vision of unity for the FSM, highlighting that “through unity, we gain strength and prosperity.”

He acknowledged the timely nature of Tanaka’s visit to build on the "Kizuna" (bonds of friendship) between the FSM and Japan.

JICA is one of the world’s largest bilateral aid agencies supporting socioeconomic development in developing countries in different regions of the world. The agency began its cooperation with the government of FSM in 1979 before its independence by accepting technical trainees to Japan in the field of fishery.

Simina expressed appreciation for JICA’s contributions to the FSM's infrastructure development, including docks and runways, and noted the ongoing need for JICA's support in these areas.

He emphasized that the FSM's national government acts as a conduit to the state governments, acknowledging the collaborative efforts of all four states in the nation’s development endeavors.

Tanaka commended Simina’s concept of unity, recognizing its importance in guiding JICA’s collaborative activities.

Tanaka also raised the issue of solid waste management, a common challenge for island nations. He mentioned JICA’s J-Prism scheme, which supports the design and management of waste sites in island nations through capacity building and site design measures.

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