On Thursday, 6 June 2019, HE Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga visited Abashiri Elementary School and spoke to a group of about 60 (sixty) Grade 6 students together with teachers and school officials. The Ambassador was welcomed by the Head of the School, Mr. Satoshi Katagiri, Mr. Masaaki Mishima, Superintendent – Abashiri City Board of Education. FS Savu later provided a detail presentation on Fiji’s Overview and the Fiji Embassy Tokyo Outreach Activities throughout Japan.
Ambassador Mataitoga with Grade 6 students of Abashiri Elementary School
Abashiri Elementary School, a co-ed school is known as one of the top five elementary schools in Hokkaido, with 300 students enrolled in the school. The school is also famous for tag rugby, whose students start learning once they’ve reached Grade 4.
At the meeting with Headmaster Katagiri, Ambassador Mataitoga provided a comparison of the Fijian and Japanese school children. He further sought the support of Headmaster Katagiri in developing community-to-community relations between the students of Abashiri and Fiji, through tourism promotion, study tours for school students from Abashiri to visit Fiji. This, after all, is part of the PALM 8 Iwaki Declaration – increasing exposure and people to people exchanges between Japan and Fiji/PICs. Ambassador Mataitoga also cited ongoing successful exchanges between Fiji and Saga, Oita and Akita, and Takanezawa machi of Tochigi Prefecture respectively.
The school headmaster also shared the same sentiments, and further thanked the Ambassador, as well as the Fiji Embassy in Tokyo, for the great support and assistance in visiting his school and informing students directly of Fiji information.
Ambassador Mataitoga also indicated that Fiji is interested in a more long-term exchange opportunity most especially in the areas of sports, cultural and educational exchanges. The need to look into areas of collaborations with Fiji, and that hopefully Abashiri Elementary School can consider was further noted.
(l-r) Mr. Inomata, HC Shimizu, Ambassador Mataitoga, Headmaster Kitagiri and Superintendent Mishima
Ambassador Mataitoga thanked Headmaster Katagiri and his team for the overwhelming discussion and hospitality by the school and looks forward to having further discussion on a variety of areas of collaboration. It is noted that the school visit will inspire ideas for exchanges to be undertaken between Abashiri Elementary School and Fiji.