Japan deepening diplomacy, economic times with Guyana, rest of LAC region

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With diplomatic relations lasting over 100 years between over 30 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC region), Japan is now keen on improving its diplomacy and economic ties even as it recognises shared values of freedom, democracy and market economy.

In the eyes of Japan, the LAC region is increasingly a major destination of investment having secured a steady supply of natural resources, fossil fuels and agricultural products over the years.

With Japanese companies in Jamaica, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, the country is looking to expand even as it seeks more imports of natural resources and agricultural products currently sourced from some of those countries.

Current moves to enhance traditionally friendly relations, trade, investment and connectivity were elaborated upon during a recent discussion with the News Room’s Kurt Campbell who participated in in a recent invitation programme called “Building a multi-layered network of Japan experts” and Director for Central America and Caribbean Division in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shimizu Chitaru.

The Director highlighted the progress made between the LAC Region and Japan to construct and consolidate economic frameworks and improve the business and investment environment while leading together on global issues at the United Nations and inspiring people-to-people exchanges in science, technology, culture and sports.

Currently there are discussions at the diplomatic level with member states to enhance connectivity of economies through global value chains and quality infrastructure, enhance connectivity of values through political dialogue and joint efforts to address challenges through innovation.

This is evident with the recent emergency assistance to Haiti in response to the earthquake in August 2021, the hosting of the Japan-CARICOM Summit in Trinidad in July 2014 and an online conference in Jamaica in 2021, a Judo Seminar in Brazil in May 2015 and more recently the project for the introduction of renewable energy and improvement of the power system at the Caribbean Community Secretariat in Georgetown in January 2022.

According to Chitaru, Japan is now focused on helping CARICOM with its sustainable development and overcoming vulnerabilities particular to small island developing states.

He said Japan is looking to deepen and expand bonds founded on exchanges and friendship and cooperate on addressing challenges of the international community.

Again, this was evident in the country’s support to the LAC region in its ongoing fight against COVID-19 with support and grant aid totalling JPY$9.5 billion and technical cooperation totalling JPY$489 million.

In 2021, Foreign Minister Motegi visited nine LAC countries and held bilateral Foreign Minister’s meetings in person or online with six others.

Additionally, Mr. Motegi held dialogues with the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the CARICOM in a hybrid or virtual format.

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