A high level Japanese delegation has ended its visit to the country by observing the preparations for the August polls and assessed the situation regarding specific needs and gaps in peace building priorities.
At a press conference held Thursday at UNIOSIL’s headquarters, Mammy Yoko Hotel in Freetown, the head of the Japanese delegation and vice minister for foreign Affairs, H.E Masamichi Ishikawa, explained that they had three purposes for their visit.
“They are to encourage the successful conduct of the elections, to observe at first hand the efforts in peace building activities and to strengthen bi-lateral relations with Sierra Leone,” he said.
The ambassador further explained that he had talks with President Kabbah, the Executive Representative of the secretary-general of the UN, NEC chairperson, PPRC, and further visits to the Pademba Road Prison, Wilberforce barracks and a field trip to the Arms for Development project.
The ambassador also said the country had made progress in reconstruction and consolidation of peace.
Continuing, he said “Japan believes the stability of Sierra Leone is crucial for peace and security in the whole West African region As a respectable member of the international community and the chair of the UN Peace Building Commission. ,Japan will continue its assistance and engagement with the government of Sierra Leone’’
Speaking about the elections, the ambassador called for them to be conducted in a democratic manner without violence and disruption, and strongly hoped the people would be able to express their will through free, fair and peaceful elections.
He also said during their visit they signed and exchanged two sets of notes with the government in which Japan cancelled a US$33 million debt owed by the government and an agreement to improve power supply in the city with a $5 million loan.