Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Ms. Marjon Kamara has assured the Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Kaoru Yoshimura, of her government’s continued cordial working relations, pledging that relations will be further strengthened for the mutual benefits of the two countries and peoples.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Minister Kamara made the assertion when Ambassador Yoshimura paid her a courtesy call last week. The Japanese Ambassador, who has concurrent accreditation to the Republics of Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, resides in Accra, Ghana.
He used the opportunity to congratulate Minister Kamara on her preferment as Liberia’s new Foreign Minister, saying he looked forward to working with her to further strengthen the already cordial relations that subsist between Japan and Liberia.
During discussions, Foreign Minister Kamara urged the Japanese Ambassador to consider reopening its resident embassy in Liberia, rather than shuttle from Ghana. “We want to plea that you will consider the reestablishment of your presence here before the end of this administration and beyond the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” she admonished.
She thanked the Japanese Government and people for all the assistance provided Liberia through JICA in support of its development efforts in the areas of infrastructure, roads, electricity, food aid and non-profit grants, human development and the promotion of private sector investment, among others.
However, Minister Kamara pleaded with the Japanese Ambassador to be a bit more creative in encouraging private sector companies to join in Liberia’s development efforts and move away from the traditional methods.
She specifically cited the Toyota Motors that can make an impact if it establishes other branches outside Monrovia to service, as well as train Liberian mechanics to maintain its products. “I know the power of Toyota. I know what they are capable of doing once it is encouraged by our two governments,” she emphasized.
The Liberian Foreign Minister also used the opportunity to reassure Japanese Ambassador Yoshimura that Government is nearing completion with its investigations at different ministries and agencies into the alleged misappropriations or misapplication of the Japanese grant.
She noted that as soon as these investigations were completed, the government would review the findings and recommendations and institute appropriate actions expeditiously. “We want to reassure you that we will do all that is necessary to ensure that the contribution of Japan in this regard is utilized effectively and for the purpose for which it was provided,” Minister Kamara indicated, adding that very soon these investigations would be concluded and appropriate actions against anyone found culpable will be taken to avoid a reoccurrence.
During the courtesy call, the Japanese Ambassador presented a formal invitation to Liberia to attend the upcoming Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, the first time in Africa, on 27 – 28 August 2016.
Ambassador Yoshimura, on behalf of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, extended a special invitation to President Ellen Johnson to attend the Summit. The Japanese Ambassador disclosed that there will be basically four major issues to be high on the agenda at the Summit considering the changing situations around the world.
He specified issues relating to rebuilding a resilient health sector, fight against terrorism, declining prices for export commodities, and climate change. He emphasized that all these issues affect Liberia in particular, and other countries on the continent in general.
Foreign Minister Kamara expressed appreciation to Japanese Prime Minister Abe for the invitation extended the Liberian leader and confirmed that she would convey the information to her. On her behalf, Minister Kamara assured the Japanese Ambassador that President Sirleaf will make every effort to attend.
Ambassador Yoshimura also expressed his government’s gratitude and appreciation to Liberia for co-sponsoring a resolution at the United Nations Security Council in New York recently that ensured that sanctions was placed on the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) or North Korea for its flagrant violation of a number of UN Security Council Resolutions which threatens to destabilize world peace and a clear disregard for the DPRK’s commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six Party Talks.