Japan pledges to assist development in South Sudan

9 Feb 2012

Japan pledges to assist development in South Sudan

8 February 2012 – Japanese diplomats stressed their country's commitment to development in South Sudan, especially in the areas of infrastructure, health education and other basic needs, during a visit today to Wau, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State.

"We have deployed 60 engineers who are in Juba to make assessments ahead of the deployment of more staff at the end of the month to South Sudan," said Second Secretary of the Japanese embassy in Khartoum Yasuke Tabuchi.

On the current security situation in the country, Mr. Yasuke said, "Japan is very concerned and interested in the situation in places like Jonglei and looks forward to a more stable South Sudan."

In a meeting with Western Bahr El-Ghazal Governor Rizzig Zackariah, discussions included border demarcation, challenges facing traders dealing with Khartoum since independence, political structure of the state, Lord's Resistance Army and infrastructure development.

Governor Rizzig pointed to the establishment of a water purification plant with support from USAID, which he said was "timely". "What is left now is the issue of distribution of water to the community."

On traders' challenges, the governor said, "The community is being encouraged to engage in agriculture, as this will ease the dependence on agricultural products from neighboring countries. We also have plans to diversify and look more at alternative trading routes such as East Africa."

Alternatives to trading with Sudan would "go a long way to ease the stress on traders, such as what they faced in the last rainy season, when prices shot up as high as 300 per cent," Governor Rizzig said.

Mr. Tabuchi was accompanied by Yasuhiro Murotatso, a Second Secretary at the Japanese embassy in Khartoum. Also attending the meeting were members of the state cabinet and UNMISS officials.

Briefing the delegation on challenges facing his ministry, State Minister of Legal Affairs John Miskin noted the language problem. "Most of the judges in the state studied in Arabic and as such the change from Arabic to English is a challenge for the interpretation of legal issues."

Governor Rizzig stressed the need for capacity building and development of infrastructure, especially in development, health, agriculture and education.

"Given the enormous challenges in terms of infrastructure and capacity building needed in the state, we hope that the establishment of a Japanese embassy in South Sudan will go a long way in contributing to solving these problems," said UNMISS Wau Acting State Co-ordinator Julie Kiwanuka.