Japan

Japan asks PNG to help recover WWII Japanese remains

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono asked Papua New Guinea on Friday to cooperate in recovering remains of Japanese who died in the South Pacific country during World War II.

Kono also announced Japan's provision of 1.2 billion yen ($10.6 million) in aid to Papua New Guinea in the field of education, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Kono filed the request about Japanese remains and exchanged notes on the aid during a meeting with his Papua New Guinea counterpart Rimbink Pato in Port Moresby, it said.

During World War II, about 127,000 Japanese died in Papua New Guinea. Of the total, Japan has recovered the remains of 51,000.

According to the ministry, the new Japanese assistance is intended to improve science and mathematics education for elementary school students, as well as raise the quality of teachers in Papua New Guinea.

With the aid, Japan will print textbooks for third to sixth graders and teaching manuals for instructors, and distribute them to schools across Papua New Guinea.

In a separate meeting with Peruvian Minister for Foreign Relations Nestor Popolizio, Kono expressed hope that the Latin American nation will ratify a trans-Pacific free trade pact as soon as possible.

Popolizio responded that Peru is making its best efforts toward an early ratification of the 11-nation free trade agreement, according to the Japanese ministry.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership — formerly known simply as the Trans-Pacific Partnership — is set to come into force on Dec. 30.

Of the 11, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and Vietnam have ratified it.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the TPP in January 2017.

Kono was in the Papua New Guinean capital for a ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

© KYODO

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