28 Apr 2014

Marshalls seek Japan's support for new water and sanitation systems

4:30 am on 28 April 2014

The Marshall Islands government says it hopes Japan will help fund a major water and sewer upgrade on Majuro atoll.

A request has been submitted to Japan's International Cooperation Agency, but officials say the expected 30 million US dollar cost is too much for a one-year project, and are instead considering phasing it out over three years.

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson, says the systems are in a dire state of disrepair, and the government has made it a priority to upgrade them.

"The systems are functional, they're just not functioning at a very high level. I mean, the thing with the sewage side is that it creates a hazardous situation for fishermen, swimmers, it's been an ongoing issue for a long time and nobody's dealt with it and finally it's become elevated to a priority."

Giff Johnson says Japan tends to fund high-level infrastructure projects like this, so the Marshalls hope a final decision will be made soon.