Bono urges Japanese leader to fight poverty

Rock star and anti-poverty activist Bono today urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to keep his nation’s pledge to boost aid to Africa and other parts of the developing world.

Rock star and anti-poverty activist Bono today urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to keep his nation’s pledge to boost aid to Africa and other parts of the developing world.

“Some countries make promises and they don’t keep them. Japan, we trust to fulfil their promise,” Bono, in Japan on his U2’s Vertigo 2006 tour, told reporters after meeting with Abe.

Japan vowed before and during the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland to spend billions of pounds more in aid on Africa and on development assistance overall, contributing to a doubling of wealthy nation aid to Africa to £25 billion by 2010.

Bono praised Japanese government aid for lifting many Asian countries from poverty and “there is a lot we can learn from Japan in applying to the rest of the developing world.”

The rock star said he won a pledge from Abe to continue Japan’s efforts to help the developing world, despite budgetary constraints in Tokyo.

In return, Bono presented the Japanese politician with a pair of his trademark Georgio Armani sunglasses, which are sold to raise funds for his anti-Aids campaign.

Abe tried them on – and was repaid when Bono declared his look as “very cool.”

“I’ve always seen (US President) George Bush looking at my sunglasses like this but George Bush never put them on,” Bono said. “The last pope, John Paul, he put them on and Prime Minister Abe. Very cool!”

In June 2005, then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged nearly £3 billion in aid to Africa over the following five years to support health care, trade and development.

At the G8, Japan vowed to boost overall overseas assistance by £6 billion over the same period.

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