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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 17, 2002 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Preservation and promotion of the diverse cultures of Papua New Guinea have received a boost -- a cultural aid grant of K 1.1 million (US$ 295,240) from Japan.

Japanese Ambassador Tatsuo Tanaka and Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs Minister John Waiko signed the agreement to implement the K 1.2 million (US$ 322,080) project. It will supply audio-visual equipment to the national museum and art gallery.

Mr. Waiko said the equipment would be used extensively to preserve and restore cultural and historical items.

He said: "This signing and exchange of notes will enable the Government of Papua New Guinea, through the National Museum and Art Gallery, to complete the very important work of preservation and restoration of vital cultural artifacts and historical items of Papua New Guinea.

"This grant assistant is worth Japanese yen 37,600,000 which is equivalent to K 1.1 million. The Government of Papua New Guinea appreciates very much the assistance, as it is the single largest assistance in the area of preservation and restoration of our diverse and valuable cultural and historical items in our country."

Mr. Tanaka said he appreciated the rich cultural heritage and diversity of Papua New Guinea. He said discussions were held two years ago at the Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders summit (PALM 2000) in Japan about the need to promote relations through cultural projects.

He said: "We had discussions two years ago at the time of the Pacific Islands leaders’ conference, which was held in Miyazaki and was attended by Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta.

"We talked about promoting our relations through cultural areas and not only economic and political areas."

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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