12 May 2009

Japan says no to Fiji regime leaders attending PALM meeting on Hokkaido

1:24 pm on 12 May 2009

Japan's Ambassador to Fiji, Yutaka Yoshisawa, has confirmed that Fiji will not be represented at the political level at the Pacific Alliance Leaders' Meeting in Hokkaido next week.

He says Japan decided not to invite Commodore Frank Bainimarama or members of his Cabinet to the PALM meeting, because of what he referred to as the recent developments surrounding Fiji.

Earlier this month the Pacific Islands Forum, which is organising the PALM meeting in conjunction with Japan, suspended Fiji over its refusal to hold elections this year.

Mr Yoshisawa says he still hopes that Fiji will send lower ranked officials.

"Fiji is a very important country in the Pacific region, and as PALM Five is the forum for introductions between Japan and the Pacific countries or the PF [Pacific Islands Forum] countries, we very much hope that Fiji will be able to come at a non -political level."

Mr Yoshisawa says they are waiting for Fiji to decide whether it will send anyone.