ABOUT 600 volunteers have been dispatched to Fiji over the past 30 years under the Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA) volunteer program in Fiji.
While celebrating their 30th anniversary last Friday, the ambassador of Japan Eiichi Oshima expressed his sincere appreciation for the programs contribution to the development of Fiji and strengthening Fiji and Japan's relationship for the past 30 years.
"The government of Japan and the government of Fiji signed the exchange note on Japan overseas co-operation volunteer program agreement in 1982 and the first volunteers arrived in Fiji on 25th July 1983," Mr Oshima said.
He said the Japan Overseas Cooperation Programme (JOVC) was an interactive co-operation scheme that aimed not only to support the growth of developing countries but also to train Japanese youths.
"Through such programs, the JICA volunteers are able to get the international views and understating through interaction with people of other countries that have different cultural backgrounds," said Mr Oshima.
Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said the public service as well as the industry sector benefited enormously from the services and assistance of volunteers.
"The services and expertise of the volunteers have enriched our people, communities and country as a whole with information, skills and technologies in our quest for building a better Fiji," said Mr Chand.
He said the volunteers left an everlasting impression on the individuals, families and communities they worked with.