Solomon Islands and Japan signed Exchange of Notes to pave the way for Japan to assist the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in their ongoing work to safely remove and dispose UXOs in the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele and the Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency, Miwa Toshiaki signed the Exchange of Notes on 17th May 2023 in Honiara. The support is under the Japan Economic and Social Development Programme 2023.
The support by Japan is for the procurement of a landing craft to support the work of the Explosive Ordinance Unit (EOD) of the RSIPF. Minister Manele in his remarks highlighted the threat and risk posed by UXOs left behind after World War 11, more than 80 years. The RSIPF respond daily to reports from the public in Honiara and in other parts of the country to safely remove and dispose UXOs discovered around their homes or backyards. In some cases, sadly innocent lives were lost. He further acknowledged the important work of the RSIPF EOD Unit whereby in the past year alone, over 500 UXO’s had been disposed, and over the past 10 years, 47,890 UXO’s had been disposed.
The bilateral support by Japan for the procurement of a landing craft is around SBD 7million. The support itself signifies the comprehensive vision of the Japanese Government towards the development of Solomon Islands. This landing craft will assist the RSIPF–EOD in its ongoing programme and operations to safely remove and dispose UXOs in the country, in particular, to mobilise inter-island access, which is difficult, challenging and expensive.
Minister Manele conveyed his deep appreciation and thanks to the government and people of Japan on behalf of the government and people of Solomon Islands for the support. He stated, the support would greatly assist the work of RSIPF-EOD to make Solomon Islands UXOs free.
The signing of the Exchange of Notes was witnessed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Service, Ms. Karen Qalokale and Mr. Cornelius Walegerea, Supervising Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, and delegates of the Solomon Islands Government and the Embassy of Japan.