JAPAN has reportedly expressed Tokyo’s readiness to cooperate with Solomon Islands in the field of maritime security.
But Honiara has reportedly rejected the overtures, pointing out that the dumping of treated waste water from the Fukushima nuclear plant is our number one concern, not maritime security cooperation.
Solomon Star was unable to get a comment from the Japanese Embassy in Honiara.
Sources told Solomon Star Japan’s Foreign Minister discussed his country’s interest in the maritime security cooperation during his visit to Honiara earlier this month.
“Japan has been actively attempting to promote maritime security cooperation with SI. They continuously offer to send a maritime security policy advisor (in) supporting (the) Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to make maritime security strategy.
“They even tried to get involved in our maritime security affairs through the Project for Capacity Strengthening for Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies of Pacific Islands Countries to Effectively Counter Maritime Crime (this is a UN multilateral maritime security project),” one source familiar with the discussion, said.
“But we didn’t accept their offers because we want them to deal with the dumping of Fukushima wastewater before talking about maritime security cooperation.
“We live on the ocean. Japan is also an island nation and they should know better the importance of a safe and clean ocean to Pacific islands nations,” the source said.
“Although Japan keeps emphasizing the significance of maritime security, they still decided to dump the radioactive wastewater into the ocean, which deeply harms the security interest of Solomon Islands and the whole Pacific religion.
“Furthermore, (the) Japan Embassy has directly submitted the meeting application to the RSIPF, bypassing Ministry of Foreign Affair several times. This behavior shows … they don’t respect SI government at all.
“Their behavior is always inconsistent with their words. We’re not comfortable when donor countries try to intervene in our governance in the field of maritime security.
“I hope this report can make Japanese government realize that the dumping of nuclear waste water is one of our concerning issues and bottom lines. If they want any bilateral cooperation with us, they should deal with this issue first.”
By Alfred Sasako