JAPAN – Papua New New Guinea relationships can only get better with the opening of the new PNG Embassy in Tokyo, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare said.
He was speaking in Tokyo last Wednesday, when officially opening the new chancery building in front of a large crowd from both Japan and PNG.
The opening of the new chancery coincided with the launching of the second weekly Port Moresby-Narita later that same day by Culture and Tourism Minister Charles Abel at Narita Airport.
The K20 million building is named after former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sir Albert Maori Kiki, who was instrumental in developing PNG foreign policy.
Whether deliberately planned or not, a point Sir Michael alluded to, the timing of the opening of the new chancery building on the eve of the cherry blossom season in Tokyo was auspicious.
“As the cherry blossom season heralds new beginnings in Japan, the advent of a new season for business and school, the opening of the Papua New Guinea chancery trumpets a new era of deepened friendship and more stronger economic and trade ties between our two countries,” he said.
“I am confident that the relationship between our two countries can only get better from here onwards.”
Already, Japan is Papua New Guinea’s second-largest trading partner.
JBIC, Nippon Oil Exploration and Tokyo Electric’s participation in the first PNG LNG project confirms the trend towards a more enhanced relationship between Papua New Guinea and Japan.
The construction of this chancery, which began last May with a groundbreaking ceremony performed also by Sir Michael, was completed last December and the building formally handed over on Jan 19.
The commitment by the Government to this project was recognition of the important and maturing relations between Japan and PNG – a relationship that in recent times has gone to a higher level, with the recent involvement of some high-profile Japanese companies in the PNG LNG project.
The total land area is 324 square metres; however, the total office space of 660sqm almost doubles the size of the land compared to the 240sqm the embassy rented all these years on the third floor of the Mita Kosukai building.