Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an aid package worth $453 million over the next three years to help Pacific island nations deal with the impact of climate change and disasters.
The pledge came at the end of the seventh Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in Japan, as leaders of 14 Pacific island nations gathered to discuss problems and needs.
"As a pledge of the Japanese government, we will provide no less than 55 billion yen [$453 million] to you in the upcoming three years ... in order to foster resilient capabilities that will not be defeated by climate change or disasters," Abe reportedly told the meeting.
The meeting is seen as a way for Japan to increase its influence in the Pacific, amid China’s growing maritime assertiveness and economic dominance in the resource-rich region. Senior officials from the United States, Australia and New Zealand also attended the talks.
Rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions such as super typhoons worry the tiny Pacific islands’ leaders, who say developed nations are mostly responsible for global warming and they have to help the countries who suffer from it.
Japan has already pledged $500 million in aid and hosted the summit every three years. This year the meeting was held in Iwaki, a city near Fukushima that was devastated by a strong quake, tsunami and following nuclear disaster in 2011.