Japan’s First Lady to visit military band

Japan’s First Lady, Akie Abe, will be making a visit to the Military Band of the PNG Defence Force later today.

The aim of the visit is to encourage the military band, which has been trained and equipped by Japanese assistance for the last three years.

Training included session with Retired Colonel Katsuo Mizushina, under the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA, in coordination with Japanese Self Defence Force.

The PNGDF Military was weakening with few equipment and poor training, until the program was introduced.

First assistance was in 2016 at the invitation of the Central Band of Japan Ground Self-Defense, to provide short training in Japan, followed by visits of Japanese officers to Port Moresby to continue training.

The training was further reinforced in 2017, by the start of a technical cooperation project by JICA, to assist with capacity development.

After the first two years of training, the PNG Military Band received an accolade as a top military band; performing at various ceremonies including at the welcome of the goodwill visit of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force Destroyer, Sazami, to Port Moresby in September.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touched down in Port Moresby at about 2pm this afternoon, accompanied by his wife.

Prime Minister Abe arrived just in time for the APEC Leaders’ dialogue at the APEC Haus.

He is among other leaders of APEC economies making their way to the APEC Haus at present, where the Summit gets underway.

Discussions and policy papers collated in more than 200 meetings conducted since March this year by various working groups, will now be presented to the leaders for deliberation.

Meantime, that countries that have arrived today are: Chile, Thailand, Vietnam, Peru, Australia, Indonesia and United States.

New Zealand will touch down at 3.30pm while Brunei at 6.30pm.

(Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie – Photo: EPA)

Salome Vincent