JPN | Feb 11, 2024

Further strengthening the Jamaica-Japan partnership

/ Our Today

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Jamaican Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith in animated conversation with Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Kamikawa Yoko on her official working visit to Japan on February 7, 2024. (Photo: @kaminajsmith)

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Jamaica and Japan have committed to strengthening their bilateral partnership, as the foreign ministers of both countries met earlier this week over dinner.

Japan’s Minister Kamikawa Yoko met her Jamaican counterpart, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, who is visiting the country as a guest of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The bilateral meeting and dinner lasted for almost two hours.

A press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan states that Minister Kamikawa highlighted that the two countries share common fundamental values and principles, and that she would like to further strengthen relations through high-level visits. In light of Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2024, the two ministers concurred to further promote cultural and personal exchanges in the future.

Japan’s provision of grant aid 

Minister Kamikawa touched upon Japan’s long-time assistance for Jamaica’s socio-economic development and welcomed the Signing Ceremony for the Exchange of Notes concerning Japan’s Grant Aid for “the Economic and Social Development Programme”, which provides a fisheries and marine research vessel.

Foreign affairs ministers, Kamina Johnson Smith, and Kamikawa Yoko, signing together letters confirming the Government of Japan’s donation Jamaica of a marine research vessel, valued at approximately JP¥1.2 billion (or US$8.1 million), during the Jamaican official’s first State visit to Tokyo on February 7, 2024. (Photo: @kaminajsmith)

For her part, Minister Johnson Smith expressed appreciation for the development assistance that has been provided by Japan and her hope for further support for Jamaica’s National Development Plan in line with Jamaica’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), as well as further assistance in the areas of security improvement and maritime affairs. 

She also expressed her appreciation for Japan’s support not only to Jamaica but also to the other CARICOM countries, including Haiti, where the situation remains unstable. Minister Kamikawa welcomed Jamaica’s announcement of its participation in Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan.

In addition, both ministers concurred to cooperate for the success of the expo, as well as to continue their cooperation to strengthen relations in the economic field.

Matters of regional and international affairs

On the matters of regional and international affairs, Ministers Kamikawa and Johnson Smith exchanged candid views on regional and international affairs, and shared the view on the importance of maintaining and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law.

The ministers also confirmed that they will work more closely together in addressing regional and international affairs, such as responses to North Korea, including its nuclear and missile development and the abductions issue, the situation in East Asia.

They also touched on the situation in Haiti, response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and the situation surrounding Israel and Palestine. Furthermore, the ministers exchanged views on various issues facing the international community, including United Nations Security Council Reform, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, and climate change, and shared the view on the importance of strengthening the multilateral system, including the United Nations. 

Moreover, Minister Kamikawa stated that she would like to strengthen cooperation on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). In response, Minister Johnson Smith commended the efforts based on the consistent leadership of Minister Kamikawa, referring to the WPS Task Force launched last month by her initiative and agreeing on the importance of promoting the WPS. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith leading Jamaican discussions on the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year celebrations with Japanese counterpart Kamikawa Yoko, during her official State visit to Tokyo on February 7, 2024. (Photo: @kaminajsmith)

She expressed her desire to cooperate closely with Japan between female foreign ministers. The two Ministers confirmed that they would work together on both bilaterally and multilaterally. Minister Kamikawa also explained Japan’s efforts regarding the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, including the contents of the IAEA Report published on January 30, and she asked continued understanding and support from Jamaica.

At the meeting, Minister Kamikawa presented a pair of chopsticks of Wajima-nuri, lacquer ware made in Wajima area in the Noto Peninsula to Minister Johnson Smith expressing her gratitude for the messages of sympathy by Jamaican Government for the damage caused by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake and wishing for the recovery of the affected areas.

Johnson Smith expressed once again her sympathy for the damage caused by the Noto Peninsula earthquake and expressed her appreciation for the heartfelt hospitality. 


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