LUCKY participants of the Kizuna program beamed with pride and excitement while making presentations on their experiences at the University of the South Pacific on Thursday.
The Kizuna (Bonds of Friendship) Project is a new initiative introduced last year by USP in partnership with the Government of Japan, which provides a fully funded two-week study tour of Japan for selected high school and university students from 14 Pacific island countries.
It is aimed at building closer relations among youths of Pacific island countries and Japan and fostering an on-going interest in one another by providing first-hand experiences.
The project also promotes understanding of the recovery efforts after the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in March 2011, and current situations in Japan.
Japan's ambassador Eiichi Oshima said the project undoubtedly reinforced relations between USP, the Pacific region and Japan.
Mr Oshima expressed his appreciation towards USP and its Kizuna management committee, its co-ordination with its campuses as well as the implementation of the project.
"USP and Japan have enjoyed excellent relationship and co-operation over decades, starting from the very first dispatch of fisheries experts to USP in the 1980s to the most recent infrastructure and technical projects relating to the ICT Centre," he said.
Fiji participant Sivnit Krisan Mudaliar said the KIZUNA project had empowered him in ways which he could not fully comprehend or express.
"The visit to Japan has educated me on the exotic and blinding beauty that emerges from every horizon on the Land of Rising Sun," he said.
"It is evident that the misconception on the aftermath of the great eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami is due to negative publicity and poor communication of information across the world."