Agreement signed for additional grant to complete NEWS Project

27th April, 2021 The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Rev Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa and the Ambassador of Japan to Tonga, H.E Mr. MUNENAGA Kensaku signed an agreement this morning at St George Government Building for additional Grant Aid Assistance from the people and Government of Japan to the Nationwide Early Warning System and Strengthening Disaster Communications’ Project (NEWS). 

The two hundred and seven million (207) Japanese Yen (approximately US$1.9 million) additional funding will be used to complete the project.

H.E Mr. Kensaku said, “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the new headquarters building of TBC was successfully built and handed over in July, 2020. However, as we are all aware, the NEWS project itself was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the equipment for upgrading TBC’s broadcasting has yet to be installed.”

He said, 18 technicians will come from Japan to Tonga via Fiji to complete the project. The technicians will install telecommunication system in TBC’s new building and construct an antenna on Niuafo’ou Island.

“Even though we are still facing a lot of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must complete this NEWS project as soon as possible so that Tonga could be well prepared against natural disasters, like cyclones and earthquakes, which strikes us every year. The project helps Tonga to protect many lives, as well as their properties against various disasters. I believe that the project will also empower the people of Tonga to tackle many difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Hon. Rev Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa expressed his sincere gratitude to the people and Government of Japan for their ongoing financial assistance and support.

“Our two governments continue to attach great importance to each other’s prosperity and security, working effortlessly to make difference for both our people.”

“The NEWS Project is a high priority mission to carry out early action, to save lives and to protect livelihood, and property, during the most difficult times of disaster and emergencies. No country appreciates the intensity and the extremity of such need, than with Japan, and therefore Tonga is most grateful that this introduction of improved disaster warning systems, by Japan in the Kingdom, has been realized.”

He said despite the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic which affects both countries, Tonga is grateful to Japan for its financial contribution to ensure that the completion of  the NEWS project.

The NEWS Project was launched in March 2019 aiming to strengthen the capabilities of disaster risk management and to improve the quality of domestic telecommunication throughout Tonga, including the Niuas.

The project consists of three main components:

  • Establishment of ‘The Early Warning Sound Alert System’ through warning voice messages are announced with sirens.
  • Expansion of ‘Emergency Radio Communication System’ which enables interactive radio communications during disasters by broadcasting emergency messages from response vehicles.
  • Upgrading of the National Radio Broadcasting Network of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC)

The project’s total budget is approximately two point eight billion (2.8) Japanese Yen, which is equivalent to over 25 million US dollars.

Attended the event were government officials and guests.


Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications.

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