Sir Michael meets Japanese counterpart

National, Normal

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare met his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama in Tokyo last night.
Sir Michael is in Japan on an official working visit and held bilateral discussions with Hatoyama and officiated at the opening of the new PNG chancery and inaugurated the second Air Niugini flight to Narita.
The two leaders covered various areas in their discussions, including the PNG LNG project, trade, investment and economic relations, environment and climate change and international cooperation.
Sir Michael said relations between the two countries were reaching new heights, spurred by Japanese interest in the gas commercialisation programme.
“In December, my country achieved the final investment decision on our first LNG project,” he said.
Sir Michael told Hatoyama that as a direct result of the project, PNG would experience rapid development that would transform the lives of Papua New Guineans and provide greater cooperation in the fields of economy, energy and environment for Japan.
He said Tokyo Electric Power Company and Osaka Gas would buy more than 50% of PNG’s LNG export, making PNG one of the largest “clean energy” suppliers to Japan over a 20-year period at a value of US$100 billion.
On environment and climate change, Sir Michael said the partnership between the two countries would deliver clean energy through the LNG project and was consistent with their strong support for the Kyoto Protocol and the Copenhagen Accord.
Sir Michael assured Japan of its support for its candidature to the United Nations economic and social commission and said PNG had already committed its support to Japan for a seat on the UN security council under the current UN reforms.
He also supported the project to exhume and repatriate the remains of Japanese soldiers who fought and died in PNG during the Pacific war.
Sir Michael extended an invitation to Hatoyama to visit PNG.
The last visit to PNG by a Japanese prime minister was 25 years ago by Yasuhiro Nakasone.
Sir Michael will leave for New York today for the financial closure ceremony of the PNG LNG project.