Telephone conversation between Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan concerning Japanese Assistance to Afghanistan

February 3, 2009

For about 15 minutes from 18:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2 (JST), Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held telephone talks with Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

  1. In the conversation, Mr. Nakasone said that as 2009 would be a crucial year for the stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan, Japan intended to make utmost efforts to cooperate with Afghanistan, and informed that Japan was to implement additional assistance amounting to approximately US $ 300 million having adopted a supplementary budget in the Diet last week.  
  2. In response, Dr. Spanta expressed his appreciation for all the assistance given from Japan to Afghanistan so far, including the above assistance, and expected that the country would work for reconstruction in cooperation with Japan as such important events as presidential election are scheduled this year.

(Note)  Japan’s additional assistance

  1. Afghanistan is to hold presidential election and provincial election this year and it is at a crucial juncture for the stability and reconstruction while unstable security situation continues.  In addition, lack of food is becoming a serious problem in Afghanistan and neighboring countries due to droughts and poor harvest crop last year.  Having considered the situation, the Japanese Government decided to provide a total of about 30.1 billion yen (approximately US $ 300 million) to relevant international organizations.  A part of the assistance will also go to neighboring Pakistan.  This additional assistance will be in support of elections, security improvement and urgent food assistance and others for the purpose of successful implementation of presidential and provincial elections, as well as stability of border areas in neighboring countries.
  2. The Japanese Government has been actively supporting the stability of Afghanistan to prevent the country from stepping back to a hotbed of terrorism, through providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance on one hand, and contributing to the efforts the security of the country on the other.  Along with the replenishing support by Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Indian Ocean, Japan has pledged assistance of a total of US $ 2 billions and has implemented US $ 1.48 billions in various fields such as humanitarian assistance, democratic process, security, human resource development, economic infrastructure, and so on.  The examples of achievements by Japan’s assistance include: construction or restoration of more than 500 schools, construction more than 650 km of roads, construction of Kabul International Airport Terminal Building, assistance to disarmament, implementation of more than 2,000 community development projects.  To actually implement such assistance on the ground, around 110 Japanese civilians work in Afghanistan as of January 2009 despite severe security situation. Japan is also going to strengthen development assistance to Ghor province, where security situation is relatively stable but poverty is serious with slow development pace, by dispatching officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) led by Lithuania in Ghor province from spring this year.

(Breakdown of the assistance)

    (1) Assistance for the implementation of elections through following organizations (approximately 5 billion yen (US $ 44 million))

    • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    • United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
    • United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

    (2) Assistance to counter-terrorism and security through following organizations(approximately 15.4 billion yen (US $ 136 million))

    • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
    • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

    (3) Assistance to vulnerable people affected by high food price, through following organizations (approximately 9.7 billion yen (US $ 86 million))

    • United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
    • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
    • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
    • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
    • United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)