Government of Japan's Digital Agency Expands Collaborative Partnership with Palau

April 5, 2024

Participants during the consultation on digitizing the arrivals process for Palau.

Photo: UNDP

Koror, Palau: A delegation from the Government of Japan's Digital Agency has arrived in Palau to further support toward the establishment of an efficient, digitized border management system at the country’s ports of entry.

Following initial discussions with the Government of Japan in April 2023, representatives from Fiji, together with Palau and Vanuatu travelled to Tokyo in October of last year to discuss the implementation of a digital arrival card system to streamline border entry processes in all three countries.

This work is being undertaken with support from the Government of Japan and its Integrated Border Management Project, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project aims to support relevant agencies in Fiji, Palau and Vanuatu in reinforcing their capacities, capabilities and systems for effective and efficient movement of travellers and cargo, and to strengthen links for data and knowledge sharing, inter-agency and cross-regional cooperation.

As part of its commitment to the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision, the Government of Japan strives to promote unrestricted and resilient economic activity throughout the region. Recognizing the significance of digitalization, the Government of Japan is supporting the adoption of digital solutions for border management across the Pacific to advance economic growth.

UNDP and the Government of Japan's support to Palau has been long-standing, with the Government of Palau having already developed a health declaration tool following the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has now requested a consultation with the Japan Digital Agency to discuss the rollout of an integrated Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) system and to also obtain technical advice on the development of the country's first CIQ strategy.

Mr. John Tarkong Jr., Director of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Ministry of Finance, said the visit from Japan’s Digital Agency was timely since the Government of Palau recently introduced a QR code system to accelerate customs' declaration process.  

“By further automating Palau's passenger arrival card we are paving the way for a future characterized by a seamless entry experience, advanced data management, and robust security measures. This initiative will bolster the country's immigration and security systems, and on behalf of those working within the border management space in Palau, I extend my gratitude to the Government of Japan for their support in this endeavor,” he said. 

The visit from Japan’s Digital Agency was timely since the Government of Palau recently introduced a QR code system to accelerate customs' declaration process.

Photo: UNDP

Ambassador of Japan to Republic of Palau, His Excellency Hiroyuki Orikasa, provided opening remarks at the consolation and said:

"We are aware that Pacific Island countries, including Palau, are faced with issues in regard to foreigners coming into territories with illicit intentions, whose number has increased dramatically over the past 25 years. It is up to every one of us to protect the country and family members from the expansion of bad influences from abroad. Japan’s partnership with Palau, and the Pacific as a whole, is one underpinned by mutual trust and respect, and through this project we look forward to furthering genuine cooperation between key border management stakeholders in Palau and throughout the Pacific region to enhance regional peace and security."

Director of the Government of Japan’s Digital Agency, Hiroyuki Kato, made note of the significance of the collaboration.

“It is our pleasure to share our experiences of Visit Japan Web and the work of Japan's Digital Agency with Palau. While we are here to support government in advancing their digitization, we would also like to learn from Palau in terms of future improvements for Visit Japan Web. We are excited to be here and to see Palau and Japan working together," he said.

Country Manager and Deputy Resident Representative for UNDP's North Pacific Office, Kevin Petrini, said the project champions collaboration and knowledge sharing, with the visit by Japan’s Digital Agency providing a boost to Palau's future border management activities.

"UNDP has not only facilitated the exchange of expertise between Palau and Japan but has also played a crucial role in ensuring that the digital transformation we envision is inclusive and accessible to all. This collaborative effort, underpinned by UNDP's guidance, stands as a testament to the potential of international cooperation in harnessing the power of technology for the benefit of everyone," he said.

The consultation concluded on 3 April, with this work also supported by the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

For further media enquiries please contact:

Nick Turner, Communications and Advocacy Specialist, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. (P) +679 971 6458 - (E)