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Staff writer

The tiny Caribbean country of St. Lucia is hoping some of the success of Jamaica in drawing Japanese tourists will rub off on it and neighboring island states.

Japanese tourists would greatly enjoy visiting Caribbean islands like St. Lucia, with which they are less familiar, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony said in an interview Thursday with The Japan Times, noting that each country offers visitors a unique experience.

Jamaica’s success in attracting Japanese tourists demonstrates they would be attracted to other parts of the Caribbean if the island nations join hands to promote tourism, Anthony said.

He called for Japanese assistance to help diversify the island’s economy, which he termed very vulnerable and unable to cope with the reality of international competition. “It’s very essential that international bodies recognize the reality of small states and the need to extend protection to them,” Anthony said.

St. Lucia is trying to diversify its economy and placing importance on promoting tourism, he said, voicing appreciation for Japan’s assistance over the past few years in developing the country’s fisheries sector. That investment has had a tremendous impact on St. Lucia, Anthony said.

Japan’s 1 billion yen grant for a project to construct a major fisheries complex, which was signed Tuesday with Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi, will pave the way for self-sustainability in the fisheries industry, he said.

Anthony meanwhile expressed support for Japan’s bid to obtain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council amd reiterated his support for Japan’s position on whaling.

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