Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi announced Tuesday that Japan will hold a meeting of leaders of Pacific island nations April 22 in Miyazaki as part of efforts to reflect viewpoints in the region on the upcoming Group of Eight summit in Okinawa this July.

Obuchi expressed Japan’s intention to hold the second summit meeting of the South Pacific Forum to visiting Palau President Kunio Nakamura, who currently serves as chairman of the SPF, a Foreign Ministry official said.

During talks Tuesday, the two leaders reaffirmed that they will step up cooperation in preparing for the Okinawa G8 summit and the second SPF summit, named the Pacific Island Leaders Meeting 2000, the official said.

Praising the advancement of cooperation between Japan and Pacific island countries since the first SPF summit in 1997, Obuchi told Nakamura Japan aims to make the second SPF summit an opportunity to discuss their common future and pave the way for the success of the Okinawa summit, the official said.

Obuchi is expected to chair the second SPF summit, and beginning on Jan. 1, he is also to chair the G8 — the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia — throughout Regarding the topics of the SPF summit, Obuchi proposed that participants discuss such issues as sustainable development of Pacific island nations, common objectives in the region and enhanced partnership between the SPF and Japan, the official said.

In agreement, Nakamura said he will begin a series of visits as early as next month to several SPF member countries to work out the details of the meeting, the official said.

The 16-member SPF consists of Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, as well as Niue and the Cook Islands, under New Zealand’s administration.

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