U2's Bono Urges Japan to Boost Africa Aid

The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 29, 2006; 4:16 AM

TOKYO -- Rock star and anti-poverty activist Bono urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday 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 fulfill their promise," Bono, in Japan on his band U2's Vertigo 2006 tour, told reporters after meeting with Abe.

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 Giorgio Armani sunglasses, which are sold to raise funds for his anti-AIDS campaign.

Abe tried them on and Bono declared his look as "very cool."

"I've always seen 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!"

Japan vowed before and during the 2005 G-8 summit in Scotland to spend billions of dollars more in aid on Africa and on development assistance overall, contributing to a doubling of wealthy nations' aid to Africa to $50 billion by 2010.

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

© 2006 The Associated Press