By HELEN TARAWA
The Japanese government has stepped up its efforts in assisting PNG for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit next year, Ambassador Satoshi Nakajima says.
Speaking at the celebration of Japan’s National Day to mark the 84th birthday of the Emperor of Japan, Nakajima confirmed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be attending the summit.
“We provided the Apec 2018 coordination authority with 68 vehicles comprising 46 buses of several types and 22 ambulances,” Nakajima said.
“I hope that these vehicles will be used most effectively for the continued success of upcoming 2018 Apec meetings.
It is our hope that the ambulances in particular will save many lives in PNG in the year of Apec and beyond.
In the area of capacity-building, Nakajima said Japan invited 57 Apec-related PNG government officials for training under the Jica’s (Japan’s funding agency) special programmme.
He said both governments had a number of high-level engagements.
Nakajima acknowledged Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato’s active diplomacy by attending various meetings, including the Foreign Minister’s meeting in Vietnam recently.
“Next year we expect a number of high level visits between both countries,” he said.
“These high-level meetings will give a great impetus to further enhance the Japan-PNG friendship and partnership.
“Both countries are becoming more interdependent on each other, which is contributing to PNG’s economic development as well as ensuring Japan’s energy security.”
Pato said: “The extended development assistance that Japan has given to PNG and for which we thank you very much.
“We know the essential contribution that Japan has made towards Apec in 2018 and Prime Minister Abe since his official visit to Papua New Guinea, the relationship between two countries have heightened.
“Prime Minister Abe was one of the first leaders of the Apec economy to confirm his attendance of the summit.
“Japan is PNG’s largest trading partner and largest importer of its LNG gas.”
By HELEN TARAWA