Deepening Bilateral Relation with Philippines through Meaningful ODA

On Tuesday, 24th February, Counsellor Korovou met with Ambassador Jose Maria Carino of the Technical Cooperation Council of Philippine, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) along with his Planning/Programme Officer-Mr. Manuel Almira. The meeting with Ambassador Carino was initiated during Counsellor Korovou’s audience with Mr. Jason Anasarias the Assistant Director for Asian and Pacific Affairs of the DFA Philippine on 23rd February. At the outset Counsellor Korovou expressed her sincere appreciation to Ambassador Carino for endorsing the meeting request at a very short-notice. The meeting succinctly manoeuvred to underline focal areas of cooperation that are of priority to Fiji as well as would be practical for the TCCP to implement within the 2015 fiscal year. Counsellor Korovou advised that inter-alia agri-business, agri-tourism, entrepreneurship capacity development, downstream processing of local resources, aquaculture, TQM and investment/product packaging are certain spheres high on the list for technical cooperation. In that regard, Ambassador Carina, advised on the following cooperation that the TCCP could arrange and implement as early as in April or May; 1) Organic farming and agri-tourism; and 2) Gender development and entrepreneurship for women.

TCCP Manila

Ambassador Carino, Counsellor Korovou and Mr. Almira

Other prospective areas mentioned for technical cooperation include fruit preservations and fish preservation. Ambassador Carino remarked that the South-South Cooperation have largely underpinned the level of cooperation either bilaterally or multilaterally between Philippines and PICs as well with Asian countries. Countries that have benefitted from the same joint venture or cooperation were Myanmar, East Timor, Nauru and Tuvalu.   In closure, Counsellor Korovou sincerely thanked Ambassador Carino for the proposed joint venture and advised that she would need to confer with the relevant authority/Ministry in Fiji and revert with advices. Ambassador Carino expressed high hopes for the cooperation to materialise.

Deepening Relation with the Republic of Philippine

On Monday, 23rd February, Counsellor Korovou convened a meeting with Mr. Jason Anasarias the Assistant Director for Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs Philippine and Ms. Lyza Viejo to follow up on certain bilateral concerns that were discussed at their meeting of October 2013 in Manila with the object to deepen the two countries bilateral relation. The focal issues of discussion encompassed the Fiji/Philippines DCA which is yet to be to ratified; the Fiji/Philippine Coconut Authority MOU; Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs visit to Philippines; and establishment of a Joint Council Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) or Senior Officials Meetings as the ideal mechanism for periodical follow-up to Ministerial meetings.

DFA Manila

Mr. Anasarias, Counsellor Korovou and Ms.Lyza Viejo

A progressive update on the Fiji/Philippines Bilateral DCA was provided by both parties in which it was noted that the Fijian Government would soon complete its emendation of the DCA text including response to comments by the Philippine Government, for the latter’s consideration. Counsellor Korovou underscored the aspiration to have the DCA ratified by both the Ministers’ for Foreign Affairs during the Ministerial visit of Honourable Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to Manila tentatively in the 2nd or 3rd  Quarter of 2015. Mr. Anasarias concurred with the signing timeline and also informed that the DCA text would be finalised in next to no time by their Government . Follow up on pending MOUs and initiated bilateral Agreements would be effected by both parties with progressive updates. On the Ministerial visit, Mr. Anasarias informed that the Philippine Government would await the advice of the Fiji Government via a Note Verbale to progress all needful. Also, both parties concurred with the proposition to incorporate as an agenda of the Ministerial dialogue the establishment of a Senior Officials or Joint Council Bilateral Cooperation as a follow-up mechanism to the Ministers’ meetings.

Progress on the trilateral cooperation arrangement of which the Philippine Government is pursuing as means to assist Pacific Island Countries in the frame of its Foreign Policy objectives and underpinning the South-South Cooperation was deliberated . Necessary external interventions inclusive of  appropriate undertakings by each concerned nation state was noted as fundamental to propel the cooperation. Dialogue with relevant agencies in this regard was also mentioned to impel this regional initiative. In closure, both parties underlined the need to fast-track the timely completion of the DCA as well as the requirements to progress the scheduled Ministerial visit.

Exploring and Initiating Fiji/Philippine Aqua-Economic Cooperation

Counsellor Korovou met with the officials of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on 23rd February 2015 at the BFAR Office, Manila with the object to establish strategic contacts and explore possible mutual cooperation. The meeting was attended to by Dr. Nelson A Lopez, Chief of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, Ms. Prescilla B Regaspi-Supervising Aquaculturist, Ms.Irma F Ortiz-Seaweed-culturist, Mr. Roy Ortega, Brackishwater Aquaculturist, and Mr. Balar- Aquaculturist. At the outset, Counsellor Korovou expressed her gratitude to Dr. Lopez and his staff for availing time from their busy schedule to meet with her and stated the purpose of her meeting  thus was to establish contacts with the Bureau and to explore  meaningful cooperation between Fiji and Philippine in the spectrum of aquaculture. The meeting, therefore, served as a preparatory process and space for initial findings for the planned visit of Fiji’s Minister for Fisheries and Forests to Philippine in the 2nd Quarter of 2015. In his prologue, Dr. Lopez introduced the major spheres of their aquatic resources which incorporate freshwater fishpond (milkfish and tilapia); brackishwater fishpond; fish pen and fish cage in fresh and marine waters, and mariculture of oyster, mussel and seaweeds. Notably, in 2012, the Aquaculture fisheries sub-sector contributed the highest value of about P92.3 billion or 38.8%  of total fishing industry production compared with the commercial and municipal sub-sectors contribution of P65.89 billion (27.7%) and P79.5 billion respectively.

 BFAR Manila Feb 2015

Practical experiences of fisheries projects in terms of gender basis approach in the Philippine were keenly noted. The range of fish farming practices in inland and coastal areas as well as marine were described including their various national aquaculture programmes. Appropriate legal instruments were mentioned as vital for the success of aqua-agri industry and its economics as in the case of Philippine. The presence of academic marine institutions in the Philippine was also highlighted, underscoring marine science and ecosystem as prominent courses currently embraced in Europe and Asia. Capacity building programmes for their youth population was also discussed. In that vein, Counsellor Korovou alluded to the prospect of exploring practical exchange studies and technical cooperation between the two countries. As such it was informed that Aquaculture is being considered as one of the significant sectors to growing a sustainable Fijian economy, apparently by way of establishing self-help projects and employment and long-term food security in view of Climate Change. Hence, Fiji desires to learn more on aquaculture economics from the Philippines through relevant mutual cooperation and technical exchanges with relevant agro-research and development laboratories and institutions.  Dr. Lopez assured that his Office would be prepared to render assistance to FET in future and thus encouraged follow on exchanges underpinning the objective and outcomes of the said meeting.  The Bureau looks forward to receiving Fiji’s Minister for Fisheries and Forests during his course of visit to the Philippine. In closure, Counsellor Korovou expressed gratitude to Dr. Lopez and his staff for the dialogue and insightful exchanges that transpired.


Fiji – Russia Bilateral Senior Officials Consultation

The first ever Senior Officials Meeting [SOM] at the level of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs [Permananet Secretary] took place in Suva, Fiji from 4-5 February 2015. The holding of this meeting came following the approval given during the meeting between Rear Admiral [Rtd] Josaia V. BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister of Fiji and HE Mr. Sergey LAVROV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in New York, USA on 27 September 2014.

The Fijian delegation was led by Mr Esala Nayasi, Acting Permannet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and assisted by HE Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga, Fiji’s Non-resident Ambassador to the Russian Federation based in Tokyo, Japan and two support staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Apolosi Lewaqai Acting Director, Oceania, Asia and Russia Bureau and Ms Vakaoca Kedrayate, Assistant Secretary.

The issues discussed between the parties covered three aspects of bilateral relations between Fiji and the Russian Federation. The first part was a review of projects undertaken by both countries since the historic meeting of PM Bainimarama with PM Medvedev in Moscow, Russian from 28 -30 June 2013. The second part covered areas for new cooperation and the third part focused on Fiji-Russia cooperation in the multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and related agencies.

In addition to the senior officials meetings, HE Mr Igor Morgulov also made calls on Hon Ratu Inoke Kubuabola MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Hon Mr Timoci Natuva MP, Minister for Immigration, National Security and Defence.

 russia1 Russia2

HE Mr Igor Morgulov, Deputy Minister fo Foreign Affairs of Russia being greeted by Mr Esala Nayasi

HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga meets with Hon. Shinako TSUCHIYA, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, Japan

On Tuesday 17 February 2015, HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga paid a courtesy call on Hon. Shinako TSUCHIYA, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives at the Member of the House of Representatives Building in Nagata-cho, Tokyo.

The Ambassador thanked Hon. Tsuchiya for the opportunity to discuss bilateral matters that would enhance and deepen Fiji – Japan relation. The meeting agenda underscored high level exchanges for political leaders; Parliamentary Study Visits to Japan for the Speaker of the Fijian Parliament; rebuilding of the Japan-Fiji Friendship Parliamentary League (JFFPL) and the new ODA– Development Cooperation Charter issued early this month.

The Ambassador and Hon. Tsuchiya had a fruitful discussion on various issues of mutual interest.


HE Mr Isikeli Mataitoga and Hon. Shinako Tsuchiya


Consultations with Hotel Okura, Tokyo

The Director of Sales Department, Mr Takashi Hoshino and Sales Manager, Mr Rajesh Paul held consultations with HE Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga on Tuesday, 17 February 2015, to discuss hotel promotional cooperation between Fiji and Okura Hotel, Tokyo.


(l-r) Mr Paul, HE Isikeli Mataitoga and Mr Hoshino


Fiji Embassy Tokyo (FET) – Navuso Agricultural and Vocational Training Institute (NAVTI) “Twin Cab” Project Appeal Fund

The Fiji Embassy in Tokyo has today launched its FET-NAVTI “Twin Cab” Project Appeal to raise funds for the Navuso Agricultural and Vocational Training Institute (NAVTI), which desperately need a twin cab for academic purposes.

Located in Navuso, Naitasiri, Fiji, NAVTI provides training to about 80 less advantaged youths. Its aim is to empower youths by providing them with agricultural vocational training so that they can earn their livelihood independently. It trains them to be replacement farmers, to treat farming as a business and to provide food security for the people of Fiji. This institute is widely recognized throughout Fiji.

The timeline of accomplishing this project is four months from now, in which the Embassy plans to purchase a twin cab for the purpose mentioned above. NAVTI also need Staff Empowerment with the latest agricultural techniques in order to boost production and maintain sustainability.

The Fiji Embassy in Tokyo is therefore appealing to Business communities, Donor agencies, Friends of Fiji and the Fiji community in Japan for financial help to assist our youths in NAVTI. We would be grateful to receive your contribution to fully or partially meet our estimated budget of JPY 3,000,000.

All contributions are kindly being requested to be deposited to:

          Name of Bank: Mizuho Bank

          Name of Branch: Kamiyacho Branch

          Account No.: 1352312  (Ordinary Account: Futsu Koza)

          Account Name: FET NAVTI Project

The Account will be closed on Tuesday 30th June 2015.


Vinaka Vakalevu. Doumo Arigato Gozaimasu.



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Toward the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai

On 10th February 2015, Ms. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, and HE Mr. Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador in Charge of the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, conducted a presentation on the logistic arrangement and the collaborated services and efforts provided by the host country, Japan and the United Nations in reference to the upcoming 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which will be held in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture from 14th – 18th March 2015.

This briefing also provided an opportunity to hear the views of UN and the host Government on what was necessary for this logistic preparatory including Venue and Accommodation, Public Forum, Study Tour, and others which was followed by a lively Q&A session. Ambassador in Charge of the WCDRR, Mr Kenichi Suganuma also conducted a presentation on Japan`s Effort – Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction. The briefing was attended by journalists from Germany, France, Hong Kong, Philippine, Singapore and the United States and 36 Diplomatic Mission representatives in Tokyo. Counsellor Julia Korovou and Second Secretary Ms. Kelera Savu attended on behalf of the Embassy.



Expression of Interest – Sale of Government Printing and Stationery Department

EOI – Sale of Government Printing and Stationery Department

Expanding Fiji’s Footprints in the Philippine

As the designated diplomat for the Fiji-Philippines relations at the Fiji Embassy in Tokyo, Counsellor Julia Korovou visited the Philippines from 20th to 24th October 2014 to undertake a series of meetings and interactions with government stakeholders and business community with the view to establish contacts and to strengthen diplomatic and economic relations, consistent with the Government’s Look North Policy and its Foreign Policy objectives.

HC Manila

HC Pineda Jr., Counsellor Korovou, Mr. Juan Pineda.

The programme commenced with an audience with Fiji’s Honorary Consul in Philippines, Mr. Jesus M. Pineda and his Executive Vice President, Mr. Juan Carlos Pineda, on Tuesday 21st October. At the outset Counsellor Korovou expressed her gratitude for the generous assistance and cooperation rendered by the Honorary Consul in organising the requested meetings and for the logistic arrangements, followed by an update on Fiji’s successful general election. The meeting deliberated on the cooperation prospects between the two countries and bilateral issues currently in progress which require due follow-ups and follow-through. Such are the Fiji/Philippines Bilateral Development Cooperation Agreement, the ratification of the three (3) MOUs between Fiji and the Philippines Coconut Authority, Fiji and IRRI, Fiji and the University of Philippines Las Banos. Also discussed were means in which FET could expand Fiji’s diplomacy and profile in Philippines by way of courtesy visits and calls on Provincial Governors and City Mayors including business community and civil society.

 Conversation on the economic front encompassed the distribution of Fiji’s tax breaks and tourism information, the proposed Fiji Business and Tourism Seminar tentatively scheduled for January 2015, and the business opportunities that prevail in Fiji as well as in the Philippines. As such business interests in the fields of appliances, food manufacture and power in Fiji were expressed by Mr. Juan Pineda. HC Pineda thus advised that he and his family would visit Fiji in March 2015 to explore business prospects and for vacation, and also take with him few business affiliates who would wish to invest in Fiji.