Statement by H.E. Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace (DDR)

in Afghanistan
February 22, 2003, Tokyo


It gives me a great pleasure to welcome all of you to the Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan. I am particularly grateful to President Hamid Karzai and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, who have come all the way from Afghanistan to attend this Conference.

1. The consolidation of peace: WHY Japan is engaged

The Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan in January 2002 was a great success, with the international community pledging over 4.6 billion dollars. For its part, Japan has extended recovery and reconstruction assistance worth more than 358 million dollars. This assistance was made to support three areas: the promotion of the peace process, domestic security and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

This assistance, however, will not bear fruit unless the peace in Afghanistan is secured and its land made fertile. It was with this in mind that I announced the concept of "consolidation of peace" on the eve of my visit to Afghanistan last May. And, this is why in extending assistance, Japan gives priority to the three areas of promoting the peace process, domestic security, and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. Efforts in these three areas must complement each other.

Japan attaches great importance to the implementation and eventual fruits of its assistance from the viewpoint of making a contribution to world peace and stability. The concept, "consolidation of peace", also derives from the policy statement Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi delivered in Sydney last May, in which he stressed that the "consolidation of peace and nation building" would constitute an important pillar of Japan's international cooperation.

In accordance with this policy, Japan has been strengthening its efforts for the consolidation of peace by implementing post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction assistance in various places around the world, such as Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Sri Lanka, and of course, Afghanistan. In this context, the focus of today's Tokyo Conference is, naturally, "security".

2. Enhancing security through DDR: HOW Japan is proceeding

There is no question that the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR), is one of the most pressing tasks since the stability of the domestic situation in Afghanistan is the prerequisite for the success of the political process and progress in the reconstruction of the country.

How to proceed with this effort, however, is not simply a matter of providing employment opportunities to Afghan ex-combatants, who have for a long time owned guns. In parallel with facilitating the establishment of the new Afghan National Army (ANA) in order to absorb some ex-combatants, the others are to be disarmed and participate in the nation-building process. To put it another way, the Afghan people, with the support of the international community, are creating a new order, in which they are turning "from guns to plows."

Furthermore, the key to realizing its new order lies in the strong will for peace and genuine national reconciliation by all the parties concerned in Afghanistan. Under the leadership of President Karzai, Afghanistan has been making tremendous efforts to establish a solid foundation for peace. At today's meeting, we expect to see the Afghan side present a concrete policy and specific implementation plan for the further development of that foundation for peace.

3. Concrete assistance measures; WHAT Japan can contribute

As one element of this new "guns to plows" order, when I visited Afghanistan last May, I introduced Japan's proposal for a Register for Peace. Under this initiative, ex-combatants are expected to be demobilized and reintegrated into civil society so they can contribute to the development of local communities. Together with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and Afghanistan Transitional Administration (ATA), Japan has been mapping out the DDR process and is working to develop the "Partnership for Peace: Afghanistan's New Beginnings Program (ANBP)".

Now that the Afghan Transitional Administration (ATA) has set up an advisory committee as well as four commissions to implement DDR, I sincerely hope that the "Partnership for Peace" will soon be translated into concrete action, and that the DDR process will commence quickly and smoothly.

Today, I am also pleased to announce additional concrete measures Japan will take in order to accelerate the DDR process in Afghanistan. They are as follows:

  • First, Japan will make a financial contribution of 35 million dollars to the "Partnership for Peace: ANBP" which, as I noted, Japan, UNAMA and Afghanistan Transitional Administration (ATA) jointly developed.
  • Second, in cooperation with ATA, Japan will establish a DDR unit, led by DDR expert Prof. Kenji Isezaki, in Japanese Embassy in Kabul.
  • Third, Japan, in close coordination with the four DDR Commissions and UNAMA, will work to secure the smooth implementation of the "Partnership for Peace: ANBP" program, and to promote the DDR process in a comprehensive manner.

With these measures, Japan as the lead country in DDR efforts, and in cooperation with UNAMA, will continue to support the efforts by the Afghan side, and rally support among the international community toward successful DDR program in Afghanistan.

Thank you very much.

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