Malo e Lelei Tonga,
Today, I am pleased to formalize with Honourable Prime Minister the agreement to grant the Government of Tonga access to a total sum of three billion, three hundred and twenty million yen, (JPY 3,320,000,000.00), approximately fifty five point four (55.4) million Pa’anga, exclusively for the Project for Upgrading of the Wharf for Domestic Transport. This was announced by Prime Minister Abe during PALM7, which was held last month in Japan. The plan is to reconstruct the seaside area on the Western side of Faua wharf into a new domestic wharf that will cater for inter-island transportation. This initiative by the Government of Japan came at the request of the Tongan Government, and is aimed at improving the handling efficiency of both cargos and passengers by separating domestic and international shipping. It will strengthen the safety of sea transportation by accommodating inter-island ferries such as the M.V 'Otuanga'ofa, the M.V 'Onemato and others. It will also provide a sheltered environment for the ferries and its passengers to linger before departure or upon arrival, and thereby contributing to the much needed platform to promote tourism.
This development reveals that the Government of Japan recognizes, through mutual dialogue and understanding, the social and economic limitations faced by Tonga. Our cooperative efforts are necessary to safeguard people’s lives and pave the way towards sustainable development, and the new domestic wharf will help meet these targets through its distinct design and technologies, where by the Passenger Terminal Building is based on the principle of universal design, which will remarkably cater for the special needs of elderly and disabled people through the installation of gently sloped ramps throughout its entrances and passageways. The Passenger Terminal Building’s roof top will have an independent solar system to commence Tonga’s step towards facilities that are more energy efficient with a greater degree of energy security, and more importantly an environmentally friendly source of energy.
The new domestic wharf is a substantial leap in the modernization process of Tonga, and it is embedded in the concept of reducing isolation by creating greater accessibility for people to interact in an environment that is friendly, safe and pleasant. It is also envisioned to withstand the impacts of natural disaster for longevity. This project is expected to be completed by 2018 and in the same year fully operational. The timing of this project is significant as it is one of the assistances by the Government of Japan to assist Tonga for the preparation toward the upcoming 2019 Pacific Games. The Passenger Terminal Building is also multi-functional and could host events should the requirement arise. With this contribution from the Government and people of Japan, these facilities would help Tonga to showcase its potential as a capable and leading member of the South Pacific Region.
I now take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Kingdom of Tonga for facilitating today’s agreement between the two Governments. I am sure that the Government of Tonga under the wise leadership of Prime Minister will continue to strengthen the working relations between Japan and Tonga through their kind considerations of the mutual partnership between our island nations. I would also like to thank the people of Tonga for their kindness for hosting the Embassy of Japan in Tonga. I am pleased to serve as the Ambassador of Japan in the Kingdom of Tonga and I know for sure that Tonga and Japan’s shared status as island nations will always consolidate the mutual understanding and friendship that the people and Government of Japan shares with the people and Government of Tonga.
By: H.E Mr. Yukio Numata, Ambassador of Japan
Location: Conference Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Embassy of Japan
Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga