Visit to Afghanistan by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi
(Overview and Evaluation)
May 2, 2002
(1) Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi paid a visit to Afghanistan from 1 to 2 May 2002.
(2) The persons with whom meetings were held and the sites visited by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi are as follows.
(a) Meetings with the following people (in order of meetings):
- Vice Chairman and Finance Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala
- Chairman of the Afghan Interim Administration Hamid Karzai
- Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdullah Abdullah (with whom a joint press conference and dinner were also held)
- Commanding Officer of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Major General Sir John McColl
- Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Charge of Afghanistan Affairs Lakhdar Brahimi
- Vice Chairman and Minister for Women's Affairs Sima Samar
- The former King of Afghanistan Mohamad Zahir Shah
(b) Sites visited:
- Afshar Academy for Girls
- Signing ceremony for grass-roots grant aid
- Discussions with non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- Anti-personnel landmine clearance site
2. Overview of Major Meetings
1. Meeting with Chairman Karzai
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi praised Chairman Karzai's efforts to date, and in addition to explaining her support for the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga and for assistance in educational areas, she announced her support for the firm stance taken by Chairman Karzai towards the eradication of narcotics. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that she was considering the formulation of a project called the "Register for Peace," which would register former combatants and ensure that through such opportunities as vocational training, they can make an appropriate contribution to society. She stated that Japan would like to engage in detailed consultations at the working level on this issue.
(2) Chairman Karzai stated that education was of great importance and stated that he expected cooperation from Japan in this area. In addition, Chairman Karzai noted that he had read with great care and attention a transcript of a speech given by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan on 25 April, and remarked on its rich content.
2. Meeting with Foreign Minister Abdullah
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi laid out Japan's cooperation efforts to support the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga, and concerning narcotics, former combatants and landmines, and explained the "Vision for Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan". In particular, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi emphasized the point about considering the formulation of a "Register for Peace" project. In addition, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi praised Foreign Minister Abdullah for his efforts in creating friendly relations with the countries surrounding Afghanistan.
(2) Foreign Minister Abdullah stated that the speech made by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi contained comprehensive and important content, expressed his gratitude for the support provided by Japan to date and affirmed that Afghanistan as a whole is progressing in a promising direction towards the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga. In addition, Foreign Minister Abdullah stated that it was important for the neighboring countries of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran to learn from history and take action in order to ensure stability in Afghanistan.
(3) Finally, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that concerning training for Afghan diplomats in Japan, as proposed by Foreign Minister Abdullah, from FY2002 Japan would accept five such persons, to which Foreign Minister Abdullah expressed his gratitude.
3. Meeting with Vice Chairman and Finance Minister Arsala
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi laid out Japan's cooperation efforts with support for the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga, concerning narcotics, former combatants and landmines, and explained the "Vision for Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan".
(2) Finance Minister Arsala praised the "Vision for Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan" and welcomed the statement by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi concerning assistance in the area of domestic security. He also stated that the rebuilding of the community was of great importance for the advancement of development and pointed out the importance of assistance for the current budget.
4. Courtesy Call on former King of Afghanistan Mohamad Zahir Shah
(1) The former King Zahir Shah welcomed the visit by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and stated that he recalled clearly the visit by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress to Afghanistan in 1969 (at the time Their Majesties were Crown Prince and Princess), and his own visit to Japan in 1971. In addition the former King expressed his gratitude for the assistance being provided by Japan.
(2) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that the return of former King Zahir Shah was having a constructive influence on the rebuilding of Afghanistan and that Japan, which itself had gone through post-war restoration 50 years ago, would continue to provide assistance for the people of Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi also stated that she sincerely hoped for the successful convening of an emergency Loya Jirga, which would be convened by the former King.
5. Meeting with Vice Chairman and Minister for Women's Affairs Sima Samar
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that women's issues were of great importance and Japan would provide assistance by the dispatch of a gender expert to the Ministry for Women's Affairs and the acceptance of trainee women teachers.
(2) Vice Chairman and Minister for Women's Affairs Sima Samar expressed her gratitude for the assistance provided by Japan and while noting that efforts were being made to create publications designed to raise the consciousness of women in Afghanistan, she also introduced Foreign Minister Kawaguchi to the current efforts underway at the Ministry for Women's Affairs.
6. Meeting with Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General Lakhdar Brahimi
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi affirmed the support and assistance provided by Special Representative Brahimi, who can well be said to be the creator of the Bonn Agreement. She further stated that it was now necessary to accelerate efforts towards disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and that Japan was considering the formulation of a project "Register for Peace", which would register former combatants who were committed to peace, and see to it that through vocational training, they make an appropriate contribution to society.
(2) Special Representative Brahimi stated that he had been most impressed by the speech of Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and welcomed the initiative relating to DDR as proposed by Japan.
(1) Given that one month remains until the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga, which has an important meaning for the political stability of Afghanistan, in choosing Afghanistan as one of the destinations for her first official visit overseas in a timely manner, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi demonstrated that Japan will continue to play a major role for the peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan. The visit was equally highly praised by the leaders of the Afghanistan Interim Administration for this reason.
(2) In addition, Special Representative Brahimi stated that Foreign Minister Kawaguchi was the first Foreign Minister of any country to stay one night in Kabul. He also stated that the visits made by Foreign Minister Kawaguchi to such places as Afshar Academy for Girls and the many meetings that she had taken part in, demonstrated clearly Japan's stance that it would support the substantive efforts by the people of Afghanistan themselves, taking in to account the voices of the local people. Special Representative Brahimi highly praised the "Vision for Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan" assistance, which was announced on 25 April as Japan's measures for implementation, which consist of the three pillars of cooperation in the political process, cooperation in domestic security and cooperation for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. In particular, Special Representative Brahimi felt that in preparation for the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi had made clear Japan's commitment to cooperate in the political process and domestic security, in addition to reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, which would be most significant in promoting stability in Afghanistan. In this context, it will be important to deploy a steady follow-up to the concept for a "Register for Peace" that was newly proposed on the occasion of this visit.
(3) During the visit, the fact that the Foreign Minister had held talks with Japanese NGOs, which are active in Afghanistan, was highly praised by the NGOs themselves. Given the success of these talks, it was decided in the future that the Japanese Embassy in Afghanistan shall hold regular contact meetings with NGOs and partnership with NGOs is accordingly expected to become still closer.
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