(Check against delivery)

Statement by Mr. Mitoji Yabunaka
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the Meeting of Political Directors of the
Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB)

Berlin, 30 January 2007


Dr. Steinmeier, Foreign Minister of Germany,
Dr. Spanta, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan,
Distinguished Co-Chairs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to highly appreciate the initiative taken by the Government of Germany, to host this meeting and express my sincere respect to the JCMB members involved directly in the difficult reconstruction mission on the ground.

One year has passed since the London Conference and the adoption of the Afghanistan Compact. While the national governing system created through the Bonn Process has begun to function, various difficult issues including the deterioration of the security situation are throwing a shadow over the assistance by the international community as a whole, and those conducting reconstruction activities face an uphill battle.

Under such circumstances, the support of the JCMB for the steady implementation of the Afghanistan Compact provides encouragement. On this occasion, the Government of Japan expresses once again its strong support for the Afghanistan Compact and its continuous and determined commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The challenges which Afghanistan is facing are quite diverse. It is desirable that the various fields, which serve to complement each other, develop simultaneously. At the same time, however, it is essential to adjust and prioritize all issues and policies in accordance with the current situation. I am sure that this is a very difficult and demanding task, and for that reason the role which the JCMB must fulfill is essential.

The JCMB has already met three times, and the Government of Afghanistan and the international community have discussed the issues in every field and put all their ideas together. Capacity-building by the Government of Afghanistan has also developed through this process. I highly appreciate these accomplishments and the efforts made by the JCMB.

The JCMB has already verified the level of achievement of the benchmarks of the Afghanistan Compact and discussed the issues in each field. From now on, we also expect the JCMB to take the following creative roles.

First, to conduct a strategic discussion about what the Government of Afghanistan and the international community should do in response to the changes in the situation of Afghanistan.

Second, to actively provide comprehensive proposals from a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary perspective.

For instance, in the area of security sector reform, reform of the police, judicial reform, strengthening of the national army, progress in DIAG and counter-narcotics are closely interrelated. Taking this opportunity, therefore, Japan proposes coordination between the DIAG activities led by Japan and the efforts for police reform led by Germany as an enhanced form of political vision, bearing in mind that reform of the Ministry of Interior is indispensable for the improvement of the security situation. In this context, we would like to hold a seminar focused on such coordination between DIAG and police reform.

While the situation surrounding the reconstruction is not favorable, it is also true that there has been widespread disappointment in the assistance provided by the international community among the Afghan people. It is therefore not too much to say that the success of the activities of the JCMB will depend on whether it succeeds in winning the support of the Afghan people for the reconstruction activities. We would like to remind the JCMB of the importance of its undertaking discussion on measures that will enable the people to actually enjoy the fruits of the reconstruction, in addition to its role of policy adjustment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I stated a few moments ago, Japan is strongly committed to achieving reconstruction and stability in Afghanistan. Japan has provided 1.1 billion US dollars to date, and has also conducting refueling activities for coalition fleet by Maritime Self-Defense forces in Indian Ocean. Japan will provide support in indispensable fields such as security improvement and infrastructure and capacity development at both the central and community levels, through the pledged assistance of 450 million dollars announced at the London conference.

For security improvement, Japan continues to play a major role in DIAG (disbandment of illegal armed groups) after completion of DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration). Japan will also provide support for LOTFA (Law & Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan), in order to strengthen police activities. Japan is ready to study further assistance this year as well, in addition to its previous assistance of 2.9 million dollars, based on requests from the Afghan Government. As the enhancement of border management capability is another urgent task to be tackled as part of anti-terrorism and counter-narcotics measures, Japan will also support such efforts in cooperation with concerned countries.

With regard to infrastructure, Japan has already implemented assistance of more than 200 million dollars, but continues its contribution to the improvement of highways such as KH roads and of airports.

Finally, Japan will support capacity development at both the central and community levels, which is necessary for the long-term development of Afghanistan. While sending experts for basic human needs in fields such as medicine and education to assist the central government, we are implementing comprehensive rural development projects focused on agriculture in provinces such as Balkh, Nangarhar, Bamiyan and other areas.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We hope that the JCMB will step up its activities based on the fruitful discussions held and constructive opinions offered at today's conference. Japan will continue to spare no effort in providing necessary assistance for JCMB activities. Thank you.

Back to Index