Mr. Hanatani succeeds former Japanese Ambassador to Kiribati, Mr. Eiichi Oshima who completed his term late last year. Based in Fiji, Hanatani is also accredited as Ambassador to Tuvalu, Nauru, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
After the Presentation of Credentials, President Tong and Ambassador Hanatani talked on the enduring and strong friendship between their two countries which has been enjoyed for over 23 years through cooperation on a number of areas of mutual interest.
While Japan is a major development partner of Kiribati – providing assistance in areas of health, education, infrastructure and fisheries to name but a few, Kiribati has over the years become Japan’s major ally in supporting their candidature and votes in international biddings mainly within the United Nations various councils and organizations.
Coinciding with Ambassador Hanatani’s visit to Kiribati was the historical Opening Ceremony of the newly completed extension of the Betio Wharf held Tuesday, 1 July 2014 – a AUD$39 million Japan-funded project.