Tokyo on Saturday promised 2.4 billion yen ($16 million) in grant aid to Samoa to help improve a national university's facilities, as Japan's foreign minister met the Pacific island nation's prime minister in an effort to strengthen the bilateral relationship.
During their talks in the Samoan capital of Apia, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, who also serves as foreign minister, discussed the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting scheduled for July in Tokyo, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Japan has been seeking to deepen ties with the island nation located in the South Pacific, where China has been increasing its influence. The funding will go to the National University of Samoa, which is located in Apia.
In the meeting, Kamikawa vowed to continue providing detailed and science-based explanations about the discharge of treated radioactive wastewater from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific, the ministry said, as some Pacific island countries have expressed concerns.
China has been a fierce opponent of the releases since before they began in August last year, citing its potential negative impact on human health and the environment.
Kamikawa and Mata'afa also spoke about the importance of addressing climate change, according to the ministry.
Kamikawa is the first Japanese foreign minister to visit Samoa. She is set to attend a ministerial gathering with the 18 Pacific Islands Forum members to be held in Fiji on Monday.