Japanese PM assures PNG of continued support


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says his country will support Papua New Guinea’s electrification programme, provide construction equipment for road development, and help with its emergency K1 billion (US$284.6 million) support loan.

He gave this assurance to Prime Minister James Marape during a Virtual Online Bilateral Summit between the two leaders Tuesday.

“As part of our cooperation, we will move forward with the electrification progression,” PM Suga said.

“The Japanese Government has also decided on the provision of construction equipment for road maintenance and improvement.

“I hope that our emergency support loan (signed for in March 2021) will contribute to economic recovery in Papua New Guinea.”

PM Suga also asked for PNG’s cooperation in operation of Japanese fishing vessels, collection of remains of Japanese soldiers killed during WWII, and participation of Japanese businesses in the Papua LNG project.

PM Marape thanked PM Suga, the people and Government of Japan, and the Japanese Emperor “for continuing to ensure that PNG remains a permanent friend of Japan”.

“We’re blessed abundantly with the good relationship we have with the people of Japan and the Government of Japan thus far,” he said.

“Lately, in our COVID-19 induced hard times, Japanese Government and people have stepped in, to assist us.

“Let me make special mention of Foreign Minister Motegi, who visited us last year.

“He was the first foreign affairs minister or leader to visit Papua New Guinea during COVID-19.

“On the back of that visit, your Government, your people, gave us over K1 billion worth of direct support to our Budget.

“That was able to keep us going during this tough time, and I very much appreciate this on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea.”

PM Marape also thanked Japan for COVID-19 support to PNG.

He announced that PNG’s second-biggest airport at Nadzab, Morobe, funded by the Japanese Government, would be named as “PNG-Japan Friendship Airport”.

PM Marape thanked Japan for funding the electricity grid from Yonki in Eastern Highlands to Lae, and various other assistance in education and others.

“Let me thank you (Japan) for all your interventions,” he said.

PM Marape said he would participate in the Japan-Pacific islands Leaders’ Meeting (PALM) on Friday.

He also assured Japan that PNG would offer its support in issues concerning North Korea and other international matters, and would assist Japan in the collection of remains of WWII Japanese soldiers.

PM Suga said Japan would be hosting the Olympic Games and Paralympics next month and looked forward to PNG’s participation.

PM Marape said Japan was an important partner to PNG by buying LNG, tuna, agriculture produce, timber and others “and we look forward to a continual warm relationship with Japan going on into the future” .