Japan’s Pacific Islands Centre turns 20

The Tokyo based Pacific Islands Centre (PIC) has completed two decades promoting economic development in Pacific Island Forum countries. PIC is part of the Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) Network, which also has offices in Auckland, Beijing, Geneva and Sydney.

Dignitaries at the 20th anniversary celebrations of PIC in Tokyo
Dignitaries at the 20th anniversary celebrations of PIC in Tokyo

PIC was established on October 1, 1996 and the twentieth anniversary was celebrated at a ceremony at Meiji University in Tokyo on December 6, 2016. More than 200 guests attended, with President Tommy Remengesau of Palau proposing the toast. Among the guests were Japanese and international dignitaries from the political, financial and business worlds.

Roy Saito, Director of PIC, thanked guests and all those people and organisations associated with PIC for their cooperation over the past twenty years and asked for continued cooperation in the future.  “It could not happen without the warm support to PIC and the cooperation from all the people concerned until now, which we appreciate very much,” Mr Saito said.

President Tommy Remengesau of Palau proposes the toast at the celebrations.
President Tommy Remengesau of Palau proposes the toast at the celebrations.

Honourable guests Kiyoshi Odawara, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Keiji Furuya, Chairman of the Japan-Pacific Islands Countries Friendship League, Isikeli Mataitoga, Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan (and acting Diplomatic Dean of the Pacific Island Countries to Japan) and President Keiichiro Tsuchiya of Meiji University all addressed the event and spoke about PIC’s important role in the Pacific Islands region in the realm of economic development.

Some long-time associates of PIC said that at the time of establishment 20 years ago, it was not anticipated that PIC would become such an institution that involved so many people. They encouraged further efforts to expand business between Japan and the Pacific Islands.

PIC also took the opportunity to showcase a range Pacific Island products at the event as well as displayed symbols and traditional island iconography created by ‘Virtua-World Company’ with 3D printing technology. Also on display was the work of photographer Masao Michishiro on the natural beauty of the Micronesian islands.

Pacific inspired kimonos were displayed during the anniversary celebrations.
Pacific inspired kimonos were displayed during the anniversary celebrations.

An added attraction encapsulating the spirit of Japan-Pacific cooperation was the exposition of the Japan-Pacific Islands Kimono Collection with a range of kimonos inspired by images of Palau, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu (these were a part of the ‘Kimono Project’ co-sponsored by Kyowa Shipping Company.

Mr Saito said the celebrations of PIC’s 20th anniversary was a great success and an encouragement to PIC staff to make greater efforts for more successful engagement with the region in the next decade.

For more information email PIC Trade Commissioner Roy Saito at rsaito@pic.or.jp

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