By Lorraine Gabina – EM TV News, Port Moresby
In a step towards building relations with Japan’s military, the PNG Defence Force today accepted a donation of musical instruments toward the military band.
The grant contract signing was officiated today by Japan’s Ambassador to PNG, Morio Matsumoto, and PNGDF Commander, Brigadier General Gilbert Toropo, at the ambassador’s official residence.
As PNG prepares for the 2018 APEC conference, this contract signing seeks to develop the PNGDF band that will play a role in the staging of the summit.
Japan’s government has extended its assistance to the value of US$104,448, through its Grant Assistance for Cultural Grassroots projects (GCGP) for the procurement of musical instruments of the PNG military band making it possible to form a 32-man band.
Asked about the Papua New Guinea Defence Force’s relations with Japan, Brigadier General Toropo said he is excited about the contract signing, not only for the band, but also for the new-found relationship with the Japanese embassy, as he believes it will open doors for more opportunity for the Defence Force to build relations with Japan, who is a strong nation, in terms of military power.
The Japanese government believes the provision of musical instruments will help the PNG military band step up in its performance come 2018.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, last month reaffirmed Japan’s willingness to support PNG’s preparation for the 2018 summit.
Japanese Ambassador to PNG, Morio Matsumoto, on behalf of Japan, asked the PNGDF to manage the project well that will in turn build and enhance capabilities of the military band; concluding with expression of determination to further enhance the Japan-PNG relations.
The provision of musical instruments will be complimented by Japan’s technical training provided by Japanese experts to the PNGDF band in the near future.
Furthermore, on Japan’s support for the APEC 2018, this cultural grant assistance follows the announcement of Non-profit grant aid of approximately K13 million on April 5th this year for procuring buses for APEC logistics along with educational materials for PNG’s remote areas.
Also, Japan’s government plans to provide capacity building training for PNG government officials in order to contribute to enhancing their policy making capabilities for the 2018 APEC summit.