Sunday, July 13, 2014

Thousands greet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he visits a World War II battlefield in PNG

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited a Second World War battlefield in East Sepik Province as part of his two-day state visit to Papua New Guinea.
Thousands of people greeted his party as they flew in to the provincial capital Wewak before travelling to the peace memorial and the Brandi battlefield.
3,000 school children lined the streets in their uniforms to welcome Mr Abe and his large entourage.
The Aitape-Wewak campaign was one of the final campaigns in the Pacific theatre of World War II.
It is the first time in 29 years that a Japanese prime minister has travelled to PNG and Mr Abe was joined by a 150-strong business delegation.
Mr Abe met his PNG counterpart Peter O'Neill and key government ministers in Port Moresby on Thursday.
Jenny Hayward-Jones, director of the Myer Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, says Mr Abe's visit is intended as a reminder of Japan's role in the region.
"This visit is a big signal to the region, and also to China, that Japan still has a stake in the region," she said.
"Its trade and investment interests are strong, and it has a political interest if its prime minister is prepared to spend two days in PNG and bring a huge delegation with him."
Earlier this week Mr Abe used a speech to the Australian parliament to remind his audience of Japan's long-standing links with PNG.

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