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Beleaguered PNG prime minister writes big check

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier) - Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday sent his condolence on behalf of the country to Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, and his people following the recent earthquake and tsunami.

In a letter to his counterpart, Sir Michael offered profound condolence and has pledged PGK10 million [US$3.9 million] towards the restoration and rehabilitation efforts.

"On what must go down in recent history as your country’s darkest hour as a result of the massive devastation caused by the strongest earthquake ever experienced in recent memory, and the subsequent tsunami that hit the areas on the North Pacific Eastern Coast of Japan, the people of Papua New Guinea join me in expressing profound sorrow to your government and people," he said.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with you and those immediately affected by this catastrophe. We note with extreme anxiety and watch with helpless awe the challenging environment your Government and people continue to endure as a result of the ongoing aftershocks and the damage caused to the nuclear power plant in Daiichi, Fukushima, and its potential risk to public safety."

Sir Michael said he was confident that the Japanese government would do all that was possible at Daiichi to minimize the risk to public safety and address the general task at hand to restore normalcy in the quickest time possible, with the help of international friends.

"Papua New Guinea values its friendship with Japan, who has been a mutual development partner in our ever growing bilateral relations.

"Moreover, Japan has given selfless assistance to PNG during its time of need," Sir Michael said.

He offered Papua New Guinea’s assistance in whatever way, the Japanese government considered appropriate.

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