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PM to Japan: Help T&T with arms treaty

Published: 
Monday, July 28, 2014
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shortly after his arrival at Piarco International Airport South Terminal yesterday where he was greeted by Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran and Ambassador of Japan Yoshimasa Tezuka. PHOTOS: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

Visa free travel, an embassy in Tokyo, Japan, and an open invitation to set up tech companies in T&T were some of the gifts Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar showered on visiting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe yesterday. In exchange, she sought Japan’s support to set up the secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty in T&T, which seeks to set up international standards for the movement of conventional arms and ammunition across borders. Both Japan and T&T signed the treaty in 2013.

These were some of the highlights yesterday after Abe touched down at Piarco International Airport for an official two-day visit. A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said bi-lateral discussions held at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's, Port-of-Spain, shortly after Abe's arrival to T&T. At the airport, the Japanese prime minister inspected a guard of honour before heading to the Diplomatic Centre.

The Japanese Prime Minister, is accompanied by his wife, Akie, on a tour which includes meeting with Latin American and Caribbean leaders. Speaking the T&T Guardian following the bi-lateral talks, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran says T&T and Japan are to consider establishing embassies in their respective countries. 

Dookeran said Persad-Bissessar said the request from the Japan prime minister would be considered. The foreign affairs minister said the Japanese prime minister said the doors of his country were also open for business with this country. The minister said Abe told the meeting the matter relating to the setting up of the secretariat of the ATT should be brought "to the front burner." 

Dookeran said Abe also expressed the hope that Caribbean nations can work with Japan on its climate change initiative. Abe also attended a welcome banquet hosted by Persad-Bissessar last night The statement from the PM’s office said Abe expressed his gratitude to Persad-Bissessar for the 90-day visa waiver. Persad-Bissessar encouraged Japanese firms to take up residency, particularly firms involved in the areas of ICTs, Clean Technologies, and Agro-processing. 

She advised that the Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications would pursue discussions with relevant members of the delegation during their stay. The Japanese Prime Minister agreed to consider further areas of cooperation in such ventures. Persad-Bissessar noted the positive impact on the south-western peninsula with regard to job creation by the introduction of the dimethyl ether (DME) Project, which has been established by the Massy Group, the Mitsubishi Corporation, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical.

Matters regarding climate change, renewable energy, Small Island Developing States (SIDS), crime and security, triangular co-operation, and the environment were also pursued ahead of the Japan-Caricom Summit to be held today at the Trinidad Hilton. Abe recognised T&T's role in Caricom and advised that Japan would host the Fourth Japan/Caricom Foreign Ministers forum in Tokyo. Last evening, Abe also held bi-lateral meetings with representatives from Antigua Barbuda and Jamaica.