11 May 2010
(Statement by the Japanese Ambassador to Tonga, H.E. Mr. Yasuo Takase)
H.E. Mr. Yasuo Takase, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga on the occasion of
the Signing and Exchange of Notes for the
Project for Upgrading and Refurbishment of Vaiola Hospital (Phase II) (Construction) in the Kingdom of Tonga
day, 11th May 2010, 2.00 p.m.
Mālō e lelei
Today, I am delighted to represent the Government and people of Japan in signing and exchanging Notes for the Project for Upgrading and Refurbishment of Vaiola Hospital (Phase II) (Construction). Last December, Dr. Tangi and I signed and exchanged the Notes for the Detailed Design of this Project. I am glad to see the successful completion of the Detailed Design and I would like to thank all those who have been involved in the work. (After this exchange of Notes, there is a tender to decide a contractor of the work and then the construction will begin. I am glad that the commencement of the Construction is approaching.)
This Project is funded by Japan's Grant Aid Scheme, which is designed to assist recipient countries in their economic development and social welfare. One of the priority areas in Japan's assistance to the Kingdom of Tonga is health and needless to say, Vaiola Hospital plays a central role in providing health services to the people of Tonga as the top referral hospital. We have been assisting to strengthen the function of the Hospital through construction of facilities such as the main examination ward, the obstetrics ward and the surgery ward as well as the provision of related medical equipments in 2004 and dispatch of many JICA volunteers, 5 volunteers now. This time the construction of new buildings including the Outpatient Department (OPD), the Dental Service Unit, the Nursing School, etc and the renovation of facilities such as water supply, electrical supply and so on are planned.
The centerpiece of the Project is the two-story building in which OPD will be housed. Another key feature of the Project is the provision of a solar power system, which will provide approximately 20% of the total daytime energy consumption of the Hospital. The environmental issues are another priority areas in Japan's assistance to Tonga and also, the development of renewable energy is in line with the energy policy of the Government of Tonga. This Project will assist Tonga in addressing both health and the environmental issues.
As you may be aware of, this year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Kingdom of Tonga. Over the past 40 years, or longer, Japan and the Kingdom of Tonga have enjoyed close and cordial relations. Japan has provided economic and technical corporations to Tonga, in total approximately 22.4 billion Yen or equivalent to 430 Million Pa'anga up to March 2009, in order to assist the people and Government of Tonga for their efforts to develop their economy and improve the social welfare of the country. I am particularly pleased that this grant aid Project will be a wonderful commemoration of this 40th anniversary.
Now, I should also mention a couple of points concerning recent situations of Japanese Official Develepment Assistance (ODA). As you know, all the aid program of Japan is funded by taxes paid by Japanese people.
On the other hand, Japan's economic situation is not good, along with worldwide economic problems, and therefore our budget is getting tighter, especially budget for ODA. In such circumstances, the Government and people of Japan now more severely observe the outcome and effectiveness of our economic assistance. Therefore, I sincerely hope that this Project will be successfully completed in due course and that all the facilities and equipments provided under this Project will be utilized and maintained most effectively and properly. The success of this Project will encourage the Government of Japan to continue and strengthen Japan's assistance to Tonga, and further develop the friendship between our two countries and peoples.
Issued by the: Embassy of Japan, Nuku'alofa.