Japan Foreign Minister Visits Solomon Islands For 1st Time

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirmed during Hayashi’s visit to the Pacific islands nation that they would enhance their cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Hayashi is the first Japanese foreign minister to visit Solomon Islands. Japan is seeking to counter China through such measures as financial support as Beijing tries to increase its influence over Solomon Islands.

Hayashi and Sogavare discussed a security cooperation agreement concluded between Solomon Islands and China in April last year. Hayashi told Sogavare that Japan was “closely watching” the agreement.

The foreign minister also said Japan will enhance its support for Solomon Islands measures against climate change.

Hayashi called for understanding of Japan’s plan to discharge treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a matter of great significance to Pacific island nations. The discharge will do no harm to the environment or human health, he said.

Hayashi presented a letter to the Solomon Islands leader from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressing Japan’s position on the release of the water and other matters. Sogavare responded that safety should be secured.