Japan to set up embassy in Kiribati in fiscal 2022

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Foreign Ministry building 

The Foreign Ministry plans to set up a new embassy in Kiribati, an island nation in the South Pacific, next fiscal year.

The ministry will also open a consulate office in Noumea in New Caledonia, which is a special collectivity under French rule.

Japan is opening the two facilities to better compete against China, which has enhanced its advancements in the South Pacific.

The Kiribati government in 2019 severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established a formal relationship with China at the behest of Beijing.

It is said that China has been increasing its presence in Kiribati by enhancing infrastructure, such as ports, and supplying significant economic assistance.

The ministry aims to collect information about China’s activities by opening an embassy and stationing officials in Kiribati.

French armed forces are also stationed in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, and the city is seen as “a key strategic location” in the Indo-Pacific region, a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

In recent years, the Japanese and French governments have enhanced defense cooperation efforts, mainly through joint military drills by the Maritime Self-Defense Force and French forces.

The ministry aims to keep tabs on China while creating more of a deterrent in the South Pacific by strengthening collaborative activities.