JAPAN’S prime minister Shinzo Abe has said Japan will provide ¥20 billion (K480 million) in official development assistance to Papua New Guinea over the next three years.
Abe’s pledge came as he met with PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill in Port Moresby.
Japan is willing to help PNG develop human resources and improve infrastructure for disaster prevention, he told O’Neill.
In the meeting, Abe explained the reinterpretation of the Japanese constitution his government has made to allow Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defence. O’Neill supported the move.
Abe sought PNG’s cooperation for recovering the remains of Japanese nationals, chiefly soldiers, who died there during World War II. O’Neill assured continued cooperation.
In a joint statement ting, the two leaders welcomed the exports of liquefied natural gas from PNG to Japan that started in June.
The exports make “a positive contribution” to not only PNG’s economic growth, but also Japan’s energy security, because they help Japan diversify energy supply sources amid surging LNG demand for thermal power generation.
Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to visit Papua New Guinea in 29 years.
Along with his wife, Akie, Mr Abe later laid flowers and offered silent prayers at a memorial in Wewak for Japanese who died in World War II.
“We should never allow the sufferings of war to be repeated,” Abe told reporters.
“Before the spirits of the war dead, I expressed my hope of making Japan a country that works for global peace with its friends in Asia and the world.”
The war memorial, constructed by the Japanese government in 1981, is dedicated to about 127,600 Japanese who died mainly in New Guinea areas, including Wewak, a fierce battlefield during the war.