Japan-Papua New Guinea relations take a turn for the better next month with the opening of the new PNG Embassy building in Tokyo and the commencement of twice-weekly Air Niugini flights from Port Moresby to Narita.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will open the new PNG chancery on Wednesday, Mar 31, the same day that Air Niugini launches its second weekly Port Moresby-Narita flight.
Charge d' Affaires Dennis Bebego said from Tokyo today that the PNG Embassy in Toky was currently in the process of finalising arrangements for the formal opening and naming of the newly-constructed building by Sir Michael.
"This is a significant national event and is a realisation of the national government's commitment to the tune of K20 million towards this chancery project," he said.
"It is historic in that this would be the second building to have been constructed and owned by the government to house its overseas diplomatic mission; the first being the PNG High Commission building in Canberra.
"The construction of this chancery, which began in May 2009 with a groundbreaking ceremony performed also by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, was completed in December last year and the building formally handed over on Jan 19, 2010.
"It is now scheduled for formal opening on Mar 31, 2010, when Prime Minister makes an official visit to Japan.
"A large entourage of guests and VIPs from PNG as well as Japan will attend the event."
Mr Bebego said the commitment by the government to this project was recognition of the important and maturing relations between Japan and PNG – "a relationship that in recent times has gone to a higher level, with the recent involvement of some high profile Japanese companies in the PNG LNG project".