JAPAN'S assistance programs to Fiji have enabled schools to address critical issues, raise the standard of education at tertiary institutes and improve the livelihood of grassroots people in the Western Division.
During a tour of projects funded and facilitated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency yesterday, government officials and members of the media were made aware of the wide range of initiatives the Japanese Government was involved in and also how these had positively impacted on the lives of ordinary people.
For the Lautoka City Council, JICA's assistance in establishing a solid waste management program has been the biggest impact â€" the positives have been two-fold.
Council CEO Jone Nakauvadra said they were slowly reducing costs and people's attitudes towards the indiscriminate dumping of waste was changing.
"We want to thank you for making a difference, not only to our city but also in changing the attitudes, culture and mind-set of the people," Mr Nakauvadra told a touring group of Japanese Government officials and the JICA team yesterday.
The council's acting health director, Rouhit Singh, informed the Japanese delegation that solid waste cost the council $1.31million annually.
"We are a city of 48,000 that produces 38.8 tonnes of waste a day," he said.
"Our recycling rate in 2012 was 13.1 per cent but our target is to improve this to 20 per cent by 2017."
Today, participants will visit the Buabua Water Treatment Plant in Lautoka, the Lautoka Fishermen's Wharf and the Fiji Meteorological Service in Nadi.