March 25, 2023

Foreign Minister Kemayah-Foreign Minister Yoshimasa of Japan Holds Bilateral Discussions

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia, Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., met with his Japanese counterpart, Mr. Hayashi Yoshimasa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan on the margins of the Japan-Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government, at the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD – 8) in Tunis, Republic of Tunisia.  

Foreign Minister Kemayah said on behalf of President George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and the Government and People of Liberia extended greetings, best wishes, and appreciation to the Government and People of Japan for TICAD-8; the USD$30 billion investment package announced for Africa at the TICAD-8.

Minister Kemayah thanked Japan for the many development assistance to Liberia, including the Japan Freeway; the commitment to rehabilitate and expand the Gabriel Tucker Bridge to Freeport road corridor; the construction of market buildings; including the Duala Market; the Liberian-Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center; the ongoing Japan Rice Monetization Program; and the human capacity development initiatives and other critical bilateral aid programs facilitated through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Foreign Minister Kemayah mentioned that H.E. President Weah had planned to personally attend the TICAD-8, but could not be present due to unavoidable national engagement.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, Minister Kemayah highlighted and presented a Bilateral Note from the Government of Liberia to the Government of Japan, which was received by Foreign Minister Yoshimasa of Japan for consideration by the Government of Japan. The Bilateral Note contains areas for consideration by the Government of Japan in its Development Assistance to the Government and People of Liberia for the period 2022-2025, including the rehabilitation and expansion of the Gabriel Tucker Bridge to Freeport road corridor; complete renovation, equipping and furnishing of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center; construction of market buildings; as well as the construction, equipping and furnishing of a new modern Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building; the construction of 15 mega conducive and enabling high school campuses across the fifteen counties of Liberia; budget support for the conduct of the 2023 elections; solar energy for critical public institutions; safe drinking water; infrastructure development and vital human-capacity building opportunities for sustainable productive engagement of the women and youth of Liberia.

Also, as contained in the Bilateral Note presented to the Government of Japan, Foreign Minister Kemayah called for the reopening of the Embassy of Japan in Monrovia; the granting of visa waivers for citizens and officials of both countries; the establishment of a Japan-Liberia Joint Commission; the holding of a Technical Roundtable Meeting of high-level public and private sector officials from both Liberia and Japan to consider further cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture and food security, health and education, road development/transportation infrastructure, youth and women empowerment, energy and information communication technology (ICT).

Foreign Minister Kemayah assured that Liberia will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the Government of Japan on global, multilateral, and bilateral issues of shared values and principles. Amb. Kemayah indicated that Liberia considers Japan as a true, reliable, and strategic partner, stressing that the over 60 years of diplomatic relations between Liberia and Japan at the Ambassadorial level is the oldest Liberia has in all of Asia. Minister Kemeyah proposed a special commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Liberia-Japan Diplomatic and Bilateral Relations.

Meanwhile Amb. Hayashi Yoshimasa welcomed and expressed his gratitude to Foreign Minister Kemayah for his participation in TICAD-8 in Tunis, Tunisia. Foreign Minister Yoshimasa stated that the Japan Freeway which was completed last year is a symbol of the Friendly Relationship between Japan and Liberia and assured Foreign Minister Kemayah that Japan will continue to consider cooperation in the field of transportation infrastructure that aims to drive Liberia’s development.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa expressed thanks for the Bilateral Note presented to him from the Government of Liberia and assured Foreign Minister Kemayah that the Bilateral Note will be submitted to the Government of Japan for consideration. Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa welcomed the idea of the establishment of a Liberia-Japan Joint Commission and the holding of Technical Roundtable Meetings of high-level officials from both countries to further strengthen cooperation and bilateral ties, stressing that it is a wise idea.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa further stated that it is essential for the International Community to cooperate in its response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and that Japan intends to continue contributing to strengthening food security in Africa. The Japanese Foreign Minister indicated that Japan’s intent is support to human resource capacity-building and expand prospects for greater private sector development. Foreign Minister Yoshimasa also raised the importance of transparency and fairness in development finance.

Foreign Ministers Kemayah and Yoshimasa agreed for Mr. Blamoh Nelson, Ambassador Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Liberia to Japan, and Mr. Hiroyuki Mase, Director of the First Africa Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to closely work together, coordinate and follow-up on the contents of the Kemayah-Yoshimasa bilateral meeting, and for the planning of a program in commemoration of Sixty (60) years of the Japan-Liberia Diplomatic and Bilateral Relations; dubbed Japan-Liberia@60, the oldest in Asia.

Foreign Ministers Kemayah and Yoshimasa further agreed to work together in responding to regional and international issues, including nuclear, missile; the reform and strengthening of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations as a whole; to coordinate, maintain and strengthen the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) regime, following the recent NPT Review Conference in New York. Foreign Minister Yoshimasa indicated that Japan supports the reform agenda of Africa for the United Nations; including Africa’s representation on the United Nations Security Council.

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