Japanese first lady visits Defence Force band

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JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife, Akie Abe, visited the PNG Defence Force military band at Murray Barracks on Saturday.
The band is a project of the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica). The bank was trained and equipped through Japanese assistance over the past three years.
Jica representative Yoshihiko Chujo Chujo said the Defence Force band had been poorly trained and equipped before Japan’s involvement.
“The training programme was further reinforced last year by the commencement of a technical cooperation project of Jica to assist capacity development of the Papua New Guinea military band,” he said
He said the Japanese government also assisted in funding instruments under its grant assistance for cultural grassroots projects in 2016.
“We are proud of the strong ties between Japanese and the people of Papua New Guinea.”
Chief of personnel Colonel Tony Oawa said it did not take long for the members to play the instruments really well.
“They must have had a background knowledge in music, that’s why,” he said.
The Defence Force band has 41 members including eight women.
The band performed during the Apec Leaders’ Summit gala dinner at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday.