The National Monday, December 13, 2010
By JASON GIMA WURI
JAPANESE companies have a keen interest in Papua New Guinea’s economy which they closely follow now that work on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has started.
Today, PNG attracts world wide attention as a high potential country in mining, petroleum and LNG sector.
Japan’s Ambassador to PNG Hiroharu Iwasaki made these remarks when highlighting the strong bilateral ties between the two nations during the 77th birthday celebration of the birthday the Emperor of Japan and the National Day of Japan at the Japanese Embassy last Thursday.
He said the LNG project had also seen the increase of Japanese expertise in this field.
“The progress of both bilateral and multilateral relationships between Japan and PNG were two most significant events held in Japan on March 31 this year which saw Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare officially open the PNG Embassy office with several singsing groups in the presence of several senior ministers of his cabinet and members of parliament,” Iwasaki said.
He said Air Niugini officiated its second weekly flight between Narita and Port Moresby on the same date.
“Even though our two countries are geographically distant, Japan always considers Papua New Guinea as a very important and close neighbour.
“I say close neighbour because PNG is only a six hour and 30-minute flight away from Tokyo by Air Niugini’s direct flight.
“I hope more Japanese tourists will visit PNG and vice-versa in the future which has being made easier with Air Niugini’s second weekly flight.”
Iwasaki also said Japan had an ongoing contribution with climate change issues in PNG like the forest preservation programme which was strengthening the capacity of forest resource monitoring that was launched in March.
“Along with that, work started in January on the construction of bridges on Bougainville’s coastal trunk road. The rehabilitation of Markham Bridge project started in March.
“We are now looking forward to the completion of construction of Wewak market and jetty later this year,” he said.
Iwasaki said each year, more than 3,000 Japanese visited PNG as tourists or to work and study here.
“People interaction is further strengthened with Japanese scholarships given to PNG students wishing to further their education in various fields of study in Japan.”