21 May 2012

Japan rejection could cool relationship with Fiji

7:26 pm on 21 May 2012

A Fiji academic says the decision by Japan not to invite Fiji's interim prime minister to the Pacific leaders' meeting in Japan later this week could result in a cooling of relations between the two countries.

The head of Development Studies at the University of the South Pacific, Professor Vijay Naidu, says Commodore Frank Bainimarama would have been expecting an invite to the 3 yearly PALM meeting, on the back of the regime's commitments to elections in 2014.

But at the last minute Japan's Prime Minister wrote to Commodore Bainimarama inviting his Foreign Minister instead.

Professor Naidu says it's a surprise given the relatively good relationship the two countries have had.

"There is a degree of bitterness in the way that Fiji has been excluded from the Forum Secretariat and then now with respect with Japan because they appeared to have a fairly close relationship. The Japanese have not come out openly and loudly against the government thus far."

Professor Naidu says Commodore Bainimarama has rejected the invitation to his foreign minister, saying it's a leaders meeting.