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PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday held a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussing among other things the strengthening of bilateral relations and ties with Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.

During the meeting, held on the sidelines of the United Nations 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, PM Abe pledged $2,5 million to Zimbabwe for disaster risk preparedness and management.

He appealed for President Mugabe’s support in his capacity as African Union Chairperson to ensure smooth preparations for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Summit to be held in Africa for the first time next year.

Gambia and Kenya have both expressed interest in hosting the event.

Abe also appealed to President Mugabe for Africa’s support in Japan’s bid for a seat in the United Nations Security Council.

President Mugabe said the decision to support Japan would have to be made by the AU and not him as an individual.

He aised PM Abe to attend the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in Indonesia next month to rally support.

Before the closed door meeting, PM Abe said he hoped President Mugabe had first-hand experience in observing the reconstruction efforts that had been taking place in Tohuku region that was devastated by the great east Japan earthquake four years ago.

“And also on this occasion, I would like to congratulate you on the assumption of the chairmanship of the African Union. With you I would like to further develop and strengthen the partnership and relationship between Japan and Africa,” said Premier Abe.

President Mugabe said disasters were always destructive in nature and he wanted to discuss strategies around risk reduction.

Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo attended the meeting.

On Saturday, President Mugabe met Japan International Co-operation Agency president Professor Akehiko Tanaka to, among other issues, discuss technical co-operation.

Source : The Herald

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