Message from Ambassador Nobuyuki WATANABE

Message from Ambassador Nobuyuki WATANABE
Dear all,
May I wish you a happy new year 2023.

At the beginning of the New Year, I would like to offer my greetings.
Last year, Papua New Guinea held its once-every-five-years general election and Prime Minister Marape was re-elected as a result of tough election campaign that lasted nearly half a year long. To solidify its political foundation, the administration is proceeding with a policy of continuing and expanding various measures focusing on development, industrial promotion, and foreign relations which places more emphasis on the economy.

Concerning relations with Japan, Prime Minister Marape attended the state funeral of the late former Prime Minister Abe in September, during which he held a bilateral summit meeting with Prime Minister Kishida followed by the Foreign Minister’s meeting in November. Through these, we confirmed that the mutual understanding was further reinforced at the leadership level and exchanges and cooperation between the two countries would be further deepened for the years to come. Furthermore, there had been events which endorsed stronger relationship between the two countries: in September, the Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer "Kirisame" made a port of call at Papua New Guinea, and in November, the Papua New Guinea Military Band visited Japan and performed as a guest country at the Self-Defense Forces Music Festival.

Since 2020, restrictions on travelling abroad had been in force due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as such restrictions became loosened in the past several months, we can see both business and travel between the two countries are gradually recovering.

While visiting various places and meeting many people through my daily affairs working in Papua New Guinea, I strongly feel the strength of the relationship between the countries, and thankfull for the heartfelt respect and friendship of Papua New Guinea people toward Japan. This is the result of tremendous and sustainable efforts made by those who engaged in activities in the past. May I take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude and respect to everyone who have been working in difficult environments.

I strongly feel a wave of change in this country, supported by its extensive natural resources. Japan-PNG bilateral relationship is critically important to further achieve progress in development, economy, education, and medical care which have been issues for Papua New Guinea. Aiming to realise such goals, we are committed to extend further assistance and contribution.

Last but not least, I sincerely wish that 2023 be prosperous, and everyone can enjoy a remarkable step forward like a rabit, a zodiac of the year.

4 January 2023
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Papua New Guinea
Nobuyuki Watanabe