Japan's Support for Afghanistan

- One Year After the Peace Process Began -

December 2002

1. Introduction

December 5 marked the first anniversary of the historic Bonn Agreement that opened the door to peace process in Afghanistan, which had experienced war for more than two decades. In addition, one year has passed since Japan began to give special priority to the implementation of assistance to Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. On this occasion, therefore, we would like to report on the content of Japan's assistance to Afghanistan until now.

At the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, held in Tokyo in January 2002, Japan announced that it would extend assistance up to $500 million over two and a half years of which up to $250 million would be provided in the first year.

Together with the assistance package announced on October 29, Japan's total assistance for recovery and reconstruction in the first year amounted to approximately $282 million. Including the emergency humanitarian aid provided in response to the needs of the refugees and internally displaced persons who increased rapidly in number following the beginning of military action in October, the total amount of assistance extended by Japan since the September 11 terrorist attacks amounts to approximately $375 million, humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction assistance combined.

Efforts toward stability in Afghanistan lead to the peace and stability of not only the Middle East and Central Asia but the whole world and also to the eradication and prevention of terrorism. Moreover, support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan sends a strong message to other countries faced with conflicts that, by pursuing peace, they can receive support from the international community. As a responsible member of the international community, Japan will continue to play an active and leading role in contributing to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

  • Support for school attendance by approximately 2.77 million children
  • Implementation of training for more than 11,000 teachers
  • Rehabilitation of approximately 263 schools
  • Supply of vaccine to an aggregate of more than 10 million children
  • Supply and rehabilitation of more than 1,250 schools and temporary learning facilities
  • Supply of temporary housing equipment for more than 23,000 houses
  • Rehabilitation of approximately 24 hospitals and clinics
  • Supply of approximately 300,000 antilandmine picture books
  • Dispatch of an aggregate of 21 experts
  • Support for more than 35 NGOs
  • Decision to accept 60 trainees (current fiscal year)

* including projects scheduled to be implemented shortly

2. Overall View of Support (Vision for Consolidation of Peace Concept)

As a result of two decades of war, the economic and social infrastructure and the basic system of governance in Afghanistan have collapsed, and there is almost no fiscal base. Domestic security is being maintained in Kabul by the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and the coalition force, but warlords are still active in the regions. The Afghan national army and civilian police are still being reconstructed, so the country certainly cannot be described as stable. Furthermore, although elementary education has been resumed in a full-fledged manner, classrooms and teaching equipment and materials are inadequate, and there is a shortage of teachers, so many classes are being conducted under a shift system. There is no social safety net, and reforms are just beginning to confront the huge wall of tradition, such as the status of women.

In these circumstances, believing that support for the consolidation of peace is the most important thing for the Afghan people, Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi visited Afghanistan on May 1 and 2 of this year and announced the Vision for Consolidation of Peace concept. Support measures are being developed on the basis of this concept.

The Vision for Consolidation of Peace concept consists of three factors - the peace process, domestic security, and humanitarian and reconstruction and assistance. If any one of these three pillars is lacking, the consolidation of peace will not be achieved.

Outline of the Vision for Consolidation of Peace Concept

Track Record

Also, Sadako Ogata, the prime minister's special representative on Afghan assistance, visited Afghanistan twice in January and June of this year, inspecting not only Kabul but also the regions, including Herat and Kandahar, and offering wide-ranging advice on Japan's support.

In all the fields of assistance that it implements, Japan places special importance on raising the status of women and cooperating with NGOs. Moreover, in consideration of the needs of the Afghan people, Japan aims to realize a seamless transition from humanitarian assistance, such as the provision of food, to recovery and reconstruction support, such as the establishment of a living base, the building of infrastructure, and the job creation; to implement visible support in a speedy manner; and to realize development in the regions, which are lagging in support.

3. Japan's Theories of Support

(1) Support for the peace process

At the conference in Bonn in December 2001, an agreement was reached on the way to reconstruct Afghanistan as a democratic and peaceful state. This was the Bonn Agreement. Japan provided active support for the first step in this process, the successful convening of an Emergency Loya Jirga (ELJ, a traditional tribal council).

Japan dispatched experts in order to prepare for the ELJ process. As support for Lakhdar Brahimi, the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general in charge of Afghan affairs, Japan dispatched Hiroshi Takahashi as senior political advisor to the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and also dispatched Koichiro Tanaka, a former undersecretary of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA), as an election monitor. Japan also supplied technical support and equipment for satellite broadcasting so that the proceedings of the ELJ could be seen throughout Afghanistan.

The construction of media infrastructure is being implemented over the long term as a priority support measure by Japan. Television broadcasting has been resumed at a TV broadcasting station built in the 1970s with Japanese official development assistance, and technicians who have received guidance from experts of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are active. Furthermore, Japan is inviting technicians as JICA trainees so that they can study the latest broadcasting technology and program production technology. Also, with the objective of supplying necessary information on such topics as education and enlightenment, health and hygiene, and democratization to the Afghan people, Japan has decided to extend assistance of approximately 2.3 billion yen for the improvement of studio program production equipment at the Kabul TV broadcasting station.

At the Emergency Loya Jirga, a transitional administration was inaugurated led by President Hamid Karzai. Serious problems arose, however, including a shortage of administrative expenses to pay for, among other things, the wages of government workers. As fiscal support to strengthen the launching of the Afghan transitional administration, Japan contributed $5 million to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) as assistance for administrative expenses. Furthermore, in order to respond to the urgent problems of building and strengthening the administrative capabilities of the central government in Afghanistan and bolstering the position of the government, Japan so far has dispatched a total of 21 JICA experts (policy advisors, etc.) to Afghan government ministries and is scheduled to accept 60 trainees in the current fiscal year in such fields as administration, health and medicine, education, and broadcasting. This program has already been implemented in the fields of broadcasting and health and medicine.

In addition, in the package announced on October 29, Japan announced the grant of 6 billion yen in funds to purchase necessary equipment and materials in the sectors of education, health and medicine, transportation, and water and hygiene, which are the priority sectors in the National Development Program compiled by the transitional administration.

(2) Support for domestic security

As support for domestic security, Japan is putting special effort into the demobilization of former soldiers and their return to local communities, demining, the reconstruction of the civilian police force, and anti-narcotics measures. The maintenance of domestic security is a precondition for reconstruction activities.

Demobilization and Reintegration of former soldiers

There are said to be several ten thousand combatants in Afghanistan. Promoting the return to society of these soldiers is extremely important from the point of view of the recovery of public order and economic reconstruction. Talks have just taken place in Afghanistan between the central government and the militant groups, including the establishment of a national army and the treatment of discharged soldiers. Together with the United Nations Assistance Missions in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Japan is playing a leading role in the G8 in the field of the demobilization and reintegration of former soldiers and is putting special effort into the solution of this problem.

Relating to this problem, Japan has proposed the "Register for Peace" concept and has received support from the Afghan transitional administration and related countries. This peace-building program would involve the register of discharged soldiers who express determination to lead peaceful lives and assistance for their return to society, including the promotion of vocational training and employment. At present, in order to materialize this concept, Japan, together with the UNAMA, is considering the contents of specific projects and ways of support.


The problem of landmines in Afghanistan is serious. There are said to be 150 - 300 victims a month. The eradication of landmines is important not only from the humanitarian perspective of the daily lives of people and the return of refugees and displaced persons but also as a premise for Afghanistan's reconstruction and development. Japan sees de-mining as a major pillar of its support and is the largest contributing country in this field, shouldering more than 60% of the cost of all U.N. projects relating to landmines in Afghanistan.

In January of this year, as part of activities to support Afghan refugees, Japan supported the replacement of the landmine removal equipment (trucks, four-wheel-drive vehicles, landmine detectors, etc.) that was destroyed or plundered as a result of the military action in Afghanistan. In addition, support was provided to the landmine removal activities of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (UNOCHA) and for the supply of artificial limbs and landmine publicity activities by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In the package announced on October 29, as part of the Ogata Initiative Phase 2, which will be explained later, Japan announced the implementation, together with U.N. organizations and NGOs, of landmine publicity activities to prevent the occurrence of new landmine victims (future prevention), landmine removal activities (present response), and the reconstruction and establishment of rehabilitation centers to support landmine victims (past recovery).

Reconstruction of civilian police force

Because of many years of conflict, the urban order in Afghanistan has been destroyed, and the mechanism of maintaining domestic security has ceased to function. The building of an environment in which people can live securely and safely is essential for reconstruction. In August and September Japan dispatched a survey mission to Afghanistan to study the supply of equipment and materials, such as wireless communications equipment and vehicles, for the reconstruction of the civilian police force.


In Afghanistan, many farmers rely for their income on the cultivation of poppies, which provide the materials for heroin and other drugs. Also, the drug business provides a source of revenue for the military cliques that control each region. The drug problem therefore poses a major obstacle to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The transitional administration has taken a strong stance toward the drug problem, deciding, for example, to ban the cultivation of poppies, but the roots of the problem go extremely deep and are very complex. It is important, therefore, for the international community to come together in tackling the issue.

On the basis of a request from the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP), Japan contributed $500,000 to the project relating to the strengthening of drug control capability in Afghanistan in order to improve the present situation in which Afghanistan's drug control capability is almost nonexistent. The aim of this project is to support organization building in the section of the Afghan government in charge of drug control.

(3) Reconstruction and humanitarian support

Humanitarian assistance

In order to respond to the rapidly increasing need for humanitarian support, Japan has implemented emergency humanitarian support of approximately $92 million since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Most of this support has been in the form of contributions to the activities of U.N. organizations, such as the supply of daily living materials by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Also, Japan has contributed approximately 520 million yen to the emergency humanitarian support initial activities of NGOs under the umbrella of the Japan Platform.

Support for refugees and IDPs/?qegional comprehensive development

Even when the repatriation of refugees was difficult under Taliban rule, Japan cooperated positively in the Azura program implemented by such international organizations as the UNHCR (1998 - 99). This program involved the acceptance of refugees in reconstructed communities in specified regions with well-established living environments in which refugees could support themselves. It succeeded in the voluntary repatriation of more than 100,000 refugees.

As of 2001, there were 3.5 million refugees in the countries surrounding Afghanistan. Following the end of the civil war, a large number of refugees, far exceeding the expected number of 1.7 million persons, are returning to their country. Meanwhile, as a result of the impact of ethnic conflicts and drought, there are said to be more than one million internally displaced persons. In order to make these people members of a new process of nation building, the ensuring of means of livelihood is necessary. In particular, the expansion of regional support and establishment of an environment to accept large numbers of refugees and displaced persons are urgent issues.

International organizations, such as the UNHCR, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and World Food Program (WFP), are playing a central role in activities in this field. A large number of NGOs are participating, too. At present the focus of support for refugees and displaced persons is shifting from relief projects to resettlement support. Deciding at the individual level whether such a person can return home now, investigating what is necessary for this purpose, and providing the required assistance is an enormous task. Japan will continue to support their activities from now on, too.

Reconstruction and Employment Afghanistan Program (REAP)

With the aim of creating employment for refugees and displaced persons in Afghanistan, Japan in January 2002, together with the United Nations Development Program, formulated the Reconstruction and Employment Afghanistan Program (REAP) targeting Kabul and contributed $3 million to this program. This project involves the restoration of roads and public infrastructure, removal of rubble and remains, and so on. It has been highly praised as the first project implemented in Kabul that was clearly visible to the public and has been widely introduced in the Western media, too. In July there was a request to implement a similar project in Kandahar, which previously was the Taliban's center. This whole region suffered atrocious damage. Japan has contributed a further $3 million to this end. Since support has not been implemented very much in this region, much is expected of this project.

Ogata Initiative (Regional Comprehensive Development Assistance Program)

Following her inspection of the actual conditions of refugees and displaced persons on the occasion of her two visits to Afghanistan, Sadako Ogata, the prime minister's special representative, announced regional comprehensive development assistance that offers suggestions and proposals for the direction of Japan's assistance for Afghanistan from now on. Three regions have been selected to receive priority assistance under this program - those regions centering on the regional cities of Kandahar in the south, Jalalabad in the east, and Mazar-i-Sharif in the north. By linking with REAP and other projects, the aims of the program are to search for forms of comprehensive development that lead to regional reconstruction, provide a seamless transition from humanitarian support to recovery and reconstruction assistance, and achieve these targets as quickly as possible. Furthermore, as well as just regional recovery and reconstruction, the program aims to strengthen the capacity of the transitional administration, bolster links between the central government and regional authorities, and promote the independence of communities.

As the first phase, the program puts the spotlight on resettlement assistance for refugees and displaced persons. Through U.N. and other organizations, it is, among other things, supplying equipment and materials for temporary housing, improving water-supply systems, rebuilding agriculture, distributing educational materials for children and teachers, and supplying temporary educational facilities. Through NGOs, it is, among other things, extending assistance for the redevelopment of communities. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people will benefit from this program, which has been steadily implemented since its announcement in July.

As a pillar of the package announced on October 29, Japan announced the Ogata Initiative Phase 2, a program to provide regional comprehensive development assistance on an even larger scale. It is estimated that 3 million people will benefit from this Phase 2, which includes emergency income-creation projects, the distribution of food as payment for labor, the construction of basic infrastructure, the protection of mother-child health, the strengthening of educational implementation capacity, and antilandmine projects in the three priority regions. Through linkage between this program and such projects as the Kabul - Kandahar primary road construction project described below, bilateral assistance from Japan through JICA, the REAP project, and regional development projects scheduled to be implemented by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Japan hopes that its program will become a model case of comprehensive regional development.

Agricultural reconstruction

Afghanistan is traditionally an agricultural country, with the main crops being wheat and fruit. The export of dried fruit is an important source of foreign currency. As a result of more than two decades of civil war, however, irrigated farmland and facilities have been neglected, and farming villages have become impoverished. In the southern and southwestern regions centered on Kandahar in particular, agricultural production has suffered serious damage because of the drought over the last three years. From the perspectives of assisting displaced persons, restoring and reconstructing the production sector, and promoting the independence of regional communities, Japan in August and September of this year dispatched a project-formation survey team to Kabul and Kandahar in order to study assistance measures for regional comprehensive development with the focus on agriculture, which is Afghanistan's basic industry. Following the results of this mission, Japan already has decided to implement emergency assistance in the agricultural field in Kandahar and also is making preparations to dispatch agricultural policy advisors and other experts to the ministries of agriculture and livestock farming and irrigation and water resource ministries in Afghanistan. Also, from the perspective of the above-mentioned anti-narcotics measures, Japan, together with the UNDCP and other international organizations, is studying assistance for promoting the cultivation of alternative crops to those that generate drugs.


In the belief that human resources development is the key to nation building, Japan has built the foundations of its development today by devoting its efforts to education since the Meiji Restoration in the late nineteenth century. In this sense, Japan believes that education is the basis of development.

Japan is the largest contributor among donors to the "Back to School" campaign of UNICEF. This national campaign involves the restoration of damaged schools and classrooms, the supply of textbooks and notebooks to pupils, the recruitment of teachers, and the resumption of lessons. As a result of the campaign, 1.5 million children in Afghanistan were able to attend school in March 2002.

Furthermore, Japan extends support for the construction of schools and the emergency restoration of damaged schools. Many smiling faces are seen at the opening ceremonies of schools that have been restored with Japanese assistance, and expressions of gratitude for Japanese aid are heard. In addition, Japan, among other things, distributes educational materials to children and teachers, constructs temporary educational facilities, and implements training for teachers and administrative staff under the above-mentioned Ogata Initiative Phase 1, a comprehensive project of assistance for the resettlement of refugees and displaced persons. Also, Japan is scheduled to expand a program for the dispatch of educational policy advisors and other experts (which is already being implemented, and the term will be extended) and is scheduled to accept trainees in such fields as female education.

In Afghanistan, there are many children who have to squat on the ground to study and still many schools that conduct lessons in three to four shifts a day. There is still an absolute shortage of schools. But the pupils study with sparkling eyes, and their parents are so enthusiastic about education, they even cover textbooks and notebooks with waste paper in order to look after them. Wishing sincerely for an even better tomorrow for Afghanistan, Japan will continue from now on also to put the emphasis on assistance in the educational field.

Health and medicine

Medical treatment in Afghanistan is in a serious condition. Medical facilities have been destroyed, and there is a shortage of medical equipment and materials and pharmaceuticals. There is also a shortage of doctors and nurses, and the securing of safe water is difficult. Afghanistan is a priority country in the campaign of UNICEF and the World Health Organization to eradicate polio. In response to a request from the interim administration, Japan in March 2002 implemented grant cooperation of 1.67 billion yen as necessary funds for the purchase of basic medical equipment and materials and pharmaceuticals. Also, one out of four children in Afghanistan die by the age of five, and measures against such infectious diseases as measles and polio, which are a leading cause of death among children, are urgently required. For this purpose, in February of this year Japan implemented grant cooperation of funds for the procurement of the vaccine, syringes, and so on necessary for measles and polio vaccinations under the UNICEF campaign to prevent infectious diseases among children. Japan provided enough vaccine for the vaccination of about eight million children against measles and more than five million children against polio. In addition, Japan has conducted reconstruction work this year on the tuberculosis research institute and hospital in Afghanistan, which was totally destroyed, and the day is approaching when this facility can resume its activities.

At present Japan also is implementing the "Kabul Emergency Water Supply Project" to deploy water-supply trucks in districts of Kabul where water-supply facilities are inadequate and districts with water-resource problems and the "Maintenance of the Equipment of the Mother and Child Health Care Hospital" to supply equipment to mother-child hospitals with the aim of improving the health of women and spreading maternity care. In addition, as part of the above-mentioned Ogata Initiative Phase 2, Japan is scheduled to supply basic medical supplies through the ICRC. By linking this cooperation with such technical cooperation as the dispatch of experts (health and medical policy advisors, etc.), Japan is contributing to the improvement of health and hygiene in Afghanistan.


As a result of many years of war, the economic and social infrastructure in Afghanistan, such as roads, electric power, telecommunications, and water supply, have been destroyed. In the words of President Karzai, it really is starting from zero. From the perspectives of implementing visible assistance and building the foundations for economic activity, the transitional administration has been strongly advocating the importance of primary road construction from the start.

At the U.N. General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, U.S. President George W. Bush, and Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal jointly issued a statement on the construction of a primary road linking Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat. As the first step in this large-scale project, in the package announced on October 29, Japan decided to implement repair work on the primary road from Kandahar to Kabul. Furthermore, the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, established in the ADB, is being used in the project to restore the main part of the road from Kandahar to Pakistan, which is being implemented by the ADB.


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