From Tokyo to Palau

On Monday night  my wife and I barely made it through the severe snow storm in Tokyo to the airport. The trains were almost stuck in their tracks and the cars hardly moved. Most of the highways were closed. But in the end we managed to get there. After several hours delay the plane also managed to take off and go to Palau, four and a half hours away, We are here for the installation of the newly elected President, Tommy E. Remengesau Jr and the Vice President, Antonio Bells.

At the ceremony earlier today, the President delivered a speech that put emphasis on democracy and human rights and the importance of free speech. I was impressed by his emphasis on having an open and transparent government. However, there are many challanges that the new administration is facing, not least the necessary reconstruction after the terrible typhon Bopha last December. Tourism is important for the country, but there are not too many tourist facilities. For divers Palau must be paradise.

After the ceremony, I had an interesting discussion with the Vice President and tomorrow I will meet the President.

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