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Last Update : Friday, Oct 23, 2015

JapanGov Weekly

[Ministry of Foreign Affairs] [Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015]

Japan-Papua New Guinea Summit Meeting and Dinner

On October 14, commencing at 6:15 p.m. for approximately 35 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting with The Honourable Peter O’Neill, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG), who is making an official working visit to Japan. Following that, commencing at 7:13 p.m. for approximately one hour and 10 minutes, Prime Minister Abe held a dinner with Prime Minister O’Neill. The overview is as follows.

1. Prime Minister Abe welcomed Prime Minister O’Neill’s visit to Japan, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and welcomed the increasing closeness of the two countries’ relationship through the active reciprocal visits of the two leaders, including Prime Minister Abe’s visit to PNG in July last year, and Prime Minister O’Neill’s four visits to Japan over a three-year period, and that the bilateral relationship is developing into a comprehensive partnership of a new age.

2. Prime Minister O’Neill highly appreciated that Japan is an important partner that has been supporting PNG’s sustainable development and economic and social development for many years, and that the two countries’ relationship is developing like never before, and bringing huge benefits to both countries and to the region.

3. Additionally, Prime Minister O’Neill appreciated and reiterated his support for Japan’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, including the new Legislation for Peace and eScurity, and in light of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the two leaders looked back on the contributions both countries have been making to the peace and prosperity of the region and the international community, and shared the view that those contributions will continue, and cooperation in the international arena will be strengthened further.

4. Prime Minister Abe welcomed the steady deepening in cooperation between the two countries in the economic field, as seen in Japanese companies’ participation in an LNG project, the signing of a shareholders’ agreement in the methanol business, and the convening of the first meeting of the Joint Committee of the Investment Agreement between the two countries, and the two leaders affirmed that they will work together to further strengthen the trade and investment relationship. In addition, the two leaders welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation, and the Exchange of Notes Verbales on the reciprocal visa waiver for diplomatic and official passport holders, and expressed expectation that the two countries’ exchanges will deepen further.

5. Prime Minister O’Neill once again expressed support for the establishment of “World Tsunami Day” and United Nations Security Council reform, including Japan becoming a permanent member, and expressed PNG’s continued cooperation on a project to recover and repatriate the remains of the war dead. The two leaders affirmed continued cooperation in a broad range of fields, including climate change and disaster risk reduction, and fisheries.

6. Following the meeting, the two leaders issued a joint message (English (PDF / Japanese (PDF that included a vow to further strengthen the interactive and comprehensive partnership in this broad range of fields.

7. At the dinner after the meeting, the two leaders exchanged views on a wide range of topics, including sports and tourism, in a very relaxed atmosphere.

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015]

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea: Strengthening the capacity of Nadzab Airport at the country’s second largest city, supporting further regional economic activities

On October 14, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea in Tokyo to provide a Japanese ODA loan of up to 26.942 billion yen for the Nadzab Airport Redevelopment Project.

By building a new passenger terminal building and making improvements to the runway at Nadzab Airport on the outskirts of Lae, a hub for industry and transportation in Papua New Guinea, this project will address the on-going rise in demand for passenger air travel, improve safety and convenience for air transportation at Nadzab Airport as an alternative to Port Moresby (Jacksons) International Airport in the country’s capital, and thereby promote long-term economic growth in the northern part of the country. The loan funds for this project will be allocated to public works at Nadzab Airport, including the construction of a new passenger terminal building, widening and pavement improvements to the runway and taxiway, to the procurement of equipment, to consulting services (including bidding assistance, overall project management and construction monitoring) and the like.

Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) will apply to the Japanese ODA loan for this project, and it is expected that Japanese technology such as LED illumination and energy-saving air conditioning and water systems that reduce the burden on the environment will be utilized.

The project target area, Lae, is a city with the second largest population (approximately 120,000 people) in the country after Port Moresby, the capital. Serving as a collection point for crops harvested in Morobe Province and the Highlands as well as being home to the Port of Lae that boasts the largest cargo volume of any port in the country, Lae has a dense population and flourishing industries, is connected by a major road to the highland region where a number of natural resource development projects are in progress, and serves as a base for regional industry and goods transportation. The number of travelers passing through Nadzab Airport increases each year, putting pressure on the existing facilities. As more than forty years have passed since the existing passenger terminal building was built and there are no modern facilities, carry-on baggage and safety inspections are done manually, resulting in severe congestion, and the deteriorating facilities hinder efficient airport operations.

In the Papua New Guinea Development Strategic Plan, 2010–2030, and the Papua New Guinea Medium Term Development Plan, 2011–2015, the Government of Papua New Guinea establishes domestic airports improvements to meet international safety standards as an urgent priority and emphasizes the need to strengthen airport functionality particularly in the Lae-Nadzab region, which is a hub for industry in the country and is undergoing growth. In addition, the National Transport Strategy 2011–2030, which is a long-term strategy for the transportation sector, specifies making improvements to Nadzab Airport as a nearby airport that aircraft using Port Moresby International Airport can use as an alternative. This project will contribute to such goals. It is expected that strengthening the functionality of Nadzab Airport as an alternative will increase the efficiency of flight routes, reduce air fuel use, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to this project, JICA has provided assistance for the flight sector with an ODA loan of approximately 12.6 billion yen for the Port Moresby International Airport Redevelopment Project (I) and (II) and participated in providing grant aid for the Tokua Airport Improvement Project from 1995 to 1997. Through technical cooperation, JICA has also carried out a status survey on major airports, including Nadzab Airport in 2011, and provided support to revise the existing master plans for the Port Moresby International and Nadzab Airports in 2013. JICA will continue to provide support for efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth in Papua New Guinea.

[Japan International Cooperation Agency] [Friday, Oct 16, 2015]

Signing of Japanese ODA Loan Agreement with Myanmar: Support for the Yangon urban transportation network, a stable power supply to the Greater Yangon area and the East-West Economic Corridor

On October 16, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed loan agreements with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in the capital of Nay Pyi Taw to provide Japanese ODA loans of up to a total of 99.85 billion yen for three projects.

Inaugurated in March 2011 and starting its fifth year in March, the Thein Sein administration has maintained a practice of implementing measures in such areas as democratization, strengthening the rule of law, national reconciliation and economic reform. Given these efforts by the Government of Myanmar, Japan resumed ODA loans to the country in 2013 after a 25-year hiatus, and since then has provided ODA loans for 12 projects, backing reform in Myanmar and supporting sustained development.

Due to the effects of economic sanctions being lifted and the promotion of investment and trade in recent years, Myanmar has undergone a transition in its real economic growth to a rate exceeding seven percent. However, because the country now faces urban transportation issues, including traffic congestion due to rapid urbanization particularly in the former capital of Yangon, and the transmission capacity of the basic power lines is expected to be exceeded, updating the deteriorating social infrastructure is a priority. In addition, the economic growth has stimulated the transportation of goods between neighboring countries, but the international trunk roadway infrastructure in Myanmar cannot keep pace, hindering transportation on the overland transportation network.

Taking into account these circumstances, these Japanese ODA loan agreements were signed for the three projects described below.

(1) Improving a circular railway line to support the traffic volume in Yangon
The Yangon Circular Railway Line Upgrading Project will provide replacements and repairs to the deteriorating rolling stock and railway signal system to improve services on the Yangon Circular Railway Line and to anticipate a rising ridership. The project will also improve the capacity to transport passengers along with the safety and comfort of public transportation services, and stimulate socioeconomic activities in the Greater Yangon area. These improvements are expected to reduce the time to travel one circuit from the current 170 minutes to 110 minutes, as well as reducing the train intervals from the current rate of one train every 15 to 40 minutes to one every 10 to 12 minutes.
To ensure that the project produces long-term benefits, a variety of cooperation approaches are being adopted, including the effective incorporation of technical cooperation. Specifically, a transfer of technology will be provided in the Project on Improvement of Service and Safety of Railway to enhance the maintenance, operation and management technology of railway engineers at Myanma Railways, which is the executing agency for the project. In addition, an expert was dispatched in March, 2015 to support urban transportation management.
For the railway sector in Myanmar, projects currently underway include the Project for Installation of Operation Control Center System, grant aid for Enhancing Railway Operation Safety, and the Yangon-Mandalay Railway Improvement Project Phase 1 (1), an ODA Loan project with the objective of making improvements to the trunk railway between Yangon and Mandalay.
Through the use of railway technology developed by Japan, JICA’s policy is to contribute widely in Myanmar’s railway sector including in the areas of facilities modernization, standards and safety improvement, capacity development in operation and maintenance, and passenger service improvements. JICA aims to provide comprehensive cooperation that has an impact and contributes to socioeconomic development in Myanmar.

(2) Contributing to the stable supply of power in Myanmar
In the National Power Transmission Network Development Project (II), substations and power transmission lines will be built to connect the Bago Region in the south to the Yangon Region. This will make it possible to boost the power in the substations connecting the north and east regions supported in phase I of the project to 500 kilovolts for transmission to Yangon which has the largest demand for power, contributing to the economic development of Myanmar with a stable power supply.

(3) Improving transportation with an improved international trunk roadway
In the East-West Economic Corridor Improvement Project, three bridges (the Gyaing Kawkareik, Atran and Gyaing Zathabyin Bridges) that hinder the smooth flow of goods due to vehicle weight restrictions will be replaced on the East-West Economic Corridor that is an international trunk road connecting Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, stimulating a smooth flow of transportation and trade not only in Myanmar but in the Mekong region as well. Through this project and other improvements to nearby intervals supported by other donors, the travel time between Bangkok and Yangon is expected to drop from the current 3.5 days to 1.9.
This project will incorporate the outcome of technical cooperation that has been provided in the past. The Bridge Engineering Training Center Projects in particular established a bridge engineering training center in the 1980s where training in design engineering along with construction practice through the construction of actual bridges has taken place. Training has continued at the center since the project ended, contributing to the development of bridge technology in Myanmar. Human resources who have received training at the center will be involved in the project, and it is expected that technology developed through technical cooperation will be used.