Republished from Radio New Zealand, 18 May 2018

The battle against illegal fishing is expected to be high on the agenda at a meeting of Pacific leaders with Japan’s government today.

The Pacific Island Leaders Meeting, known as PALM, is held in Japan every three years.

Japan’s government hosts the PALM summits as a way to share its assistance programme with Pacific Island Forum countries.

Ahead of this summit, Tokyo said measures to help Pacific countries enforce maritime law within their maritime jurisdictions would be included in a joint statement for the eighth PALM meeting.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. Photo: AFP

Pacific Island countries struggle to adequately police their exclusive economic zones which have become subject to regular incursions by so-called Vietnamese blue boats.

The statement for PALM 8 will coincide with a new Japanese ocean policy targetting perceived growing threats from North Korea and China.

PALM 8 is to be co-hosted by Japan and Samoa’s prime ministers, Shinzo Abe and Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi respectively.

New Zealand’s deputy prime minister Winston Peters will also be in attendance, along with representatives from 16 other Pacific Island Forum countries including Australia.