Japan stands ready to welcome Pacific Island leaders in the upcoming 10th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (Palm10) summit in Tokyo from 16-18 July.

Japan’s Defence Minister Kihara Minoru said in a statement the Pacific or the Blue Pacific, was at the heart of continents such as North and South America, Eurasia and Australia.

He said Japan had shared the vast Pacific with the Pacific Island nations for a long time and had formed bonds, or Kizuna, in the Japanese language.

“At the Palm9 (in 2018), we underscored our renewed and strengthen commitment to the importance of free, open and sustainable maritime order based on the rule of law that will contribute to peace, stability, resilience prosperity, ocean health and resources sustainability of the region,” Minoru said.

“Previously, as special adviser to the prime minister (Kishida Fumio), I chaired the Pacific Island Cooperation Promotion Conference of the Government of Japan to promote cooperation between Japan and Pacific Island countries ahead of Palm 9.

“There I had discussion with leaders on what needs to be done for the future of this region.

“I know the Pacific Island region is full of potential.

“Courageous souls who have sailed into the vast ocean, embracing life in balance with nature. An abundant natural resources such as seafood, agriculture products, and minerals.”

Minoru added that Japan was looking forward to the meeting to work together to create a sustainable future for the region where Pacific Island countries can continue to enjoy peace, stability, and prosperity.

Minoru said the power of Pacific Island countries filled with potential could be maximised when they stand united, overcoming differences.

“Pacific island countries are at a turning point in history, and they must be heard,” he added.