Mr. Hamid Karzai, President of the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan, visited Japan at the invitation of the Government of Japan on this occasion of the first anniversary of the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan held in Tokyo. The assistance pledged by the international community at the Tokyo conference is for the most part being implemented satisfactorily, and the efforts by Afghanistan itself for reconstruction have also been achieving results. Under the concept of the "Consolidation of Peace" announced by Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi (the policy to support three pillars, namely the peace process, domestic security, and humanity and reconstruction assistance), Japan has been providing active support for reconstruction of Afghanistan.
However, the foundation for peace and stability in Afghanistan is still fragile, and the continued participation of the international community in the peace process is indispensable. In particular, the bolstering of domestic security holds the key for the success in the political field and the progress of reconstruction, and Japan, too, is providing assistance in this area. During her visit to Afghanistan in May last year, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi proposed the concept for the "Register for Peace" program, which proposes assistance for the reintegration of ex-combatants into civilian society as integral members of local communities. Since then, Japan, as the lead country of the assistance for DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of ex-combatants) in Afghanistan, has been studying and considering concrete assistance measures in this area.
Today, on February 22, Japan is hosting "The Tokyo Conference on 'Consolidation of Peace (DDR)' in Afghanistan-Change of Order 'from Guns to Hoes'"-. With the attendance of President Karzai, the conference is expected to receive a clear declaration from the Afghanistan side of its determination in, and concrete direction for, the DDR policy, and we will seek support and cooperation from the international community for the DDR process (37 countries and 10 international organizations are expected to send representatives to the conference). At the conference Japan will announce its forthcoming concrete assistance measures, centering on the approximately 35 million dollars it will extend to Afghanistan in grant aid called "Partnership for Peace Project", which was announced Feb.19.
Up to now, Japan has committed approximately 358 million dollars in the recovery and reconstruction assistance, which includes approximately 76 million dollars in assistance that was announced recently for "the project for Rehabilitation of the Public Transportation System in Kabul City", "the project for Infectious Diseases Prevention for Children in Afghanistan", and other projects, in addition to the grant aid amount mentioned above. Combining humanitarian aid, the amount of assistance provided since the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 has reached approximately 451 million dollars.
1. Assistance for the reintegration of former combatants into civilian society
To promote reconstruction in post-conflict regions, in addition to maintaining domestic security, preventing the reoccurrence of conflict by building an environment in which people do not have to resort to arms again is vital. It is essential that the international community strongly assist Afghanistan's efforts for the disarmament of ex-combatants and their demobilization and reintegration into civilian society (DDR) and for the creation of national army, which the Transitional Administration has been engaged in since last year.
(1) The Tokyo Conference on "Consolidation of Peace (DDR) "in Afghanistan - Change of Order "from Guns to Hoes"
The conference is expected to receive a clear statement from the Transitional Administration of Afghanistan of its strong confidence in, and concrete direction for, the progress of DDR and to obtain pledges of assistance and cooperation from the international community, 37 countries and 10 international organizations). In particular, the conference will identify specific problems being encountered in the DDR process, and views will be exchanged on concrete measures for overcoming them. As a lead country for the DDR efforts, Japan will serve as chair country for the conference, and in addition to mobilizing assistance from the international community, Japan will announce its own concrete plans for assistance.
(2) Partnership for Peace Program
Approx. 35 million dollars
In order to materialize the "Register for Peace" program proposed by Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, Japan formulated the "Partnership for Peace Program", in cooperation with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), to assist the demobilization of former soldiers and their return to civilian society. This program forms the framework for the DDR, and Japan will provide approximately 35 million dollars in grant aid for the implementation of the program. Provisions of the program are:
a. preparation of administrative offices for the demobilization and the training of the office's staff;
b. assistance for demobilization procedures (registration of former soldiers, issuance of identification cards, etc.);
c. assistance for vocational training and the creation of employment to promote ex-combatants' reintegration into society.
2. Assistance for the peace process (administrative capacity building)
The capacity building of the Transitional Authority of Afghanistan, which was launched last year in June, is crucial for the furthering of the political process in the Afghanistan. Up to now, Japan has provided financial assistance and support for the reinforcement of Afghanistan's economic structure, as well as dispatched technical experts in various fields; it will be important for Japan to continue this assistance in the future.
(1) Assistance for the clearance of arrears to the World Bank and IMF (Ministry of Finance)
8.4 million dollars
To ensure the furtherance of the reconstruction of Afghanistan, Japan will extend assistance for the repayment of areas to the World Bank and the IMF, which has become a condition for the resumption of funding to Afghanistan by the World Bank
(2) Technical assistance
a. Dispatch of experts: Japan has dispatched experts in the fields of education, health and medical care, assistance for women, aid coordination, agriculture, etc. A total of 21 experts have been dispatched since last May including 5 being dispatched, and the government is considering the dispatch of additional experts.
b. Acceptance of trainees: Trainees have been accepted for study in Japan in such fields as broadcasting, health and medical care, assistance for women, and education (education for girls), and agriculture. A total of 55 trainees have been accepted since last July including 30 under training. 5 diplomats are scheduled to be accepted from Feb.24. One researcher in the field of agriculture is scheduled to receive a Japanese national scholarship for study in Japan this fiscal year.
3. Reconstruction and humanitarian assistance
To encourage the people of Afghanistan, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance should be visible and in clear evidence to them. Japan will provide assistance for the reconstruction of basic infrastructure such as roads and traffic systems, for health and medical care, and for education and culture.
(1) Kabul-Kandahar Primary Road Rehabilitation Project
Based on an initiative announced in a joint declaration by Prime Minister Koizumi, President Bush, and the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, this road rehabilitation project is now underway. Since last year, road repair work has been carried out in the Kandahar area, and from January this year, repair work has been started on streets leading into Kabul.
(2) Project for Rehabilitation of the Public Transportation System in Kabul City
2.23 billion yen
In the city of Kabul, during peak hours on every bus route, passengers face very severe conditions as buses are so packed that people cannot even move. The deterioration of buses is also a serious problem. To improve the situation and respond to a request from the transitional administration, Japan will provide 111 buses for Kabul city and, as part of the assistance for the improvement of Kabul International Airport, four airport buses.
(3) Project for Infectious Diseases Prevention for Children in Afghanistan (UNICEF)
600 million yen
To further promote measures against two infectious diseases-measles, which account for about 40% of child mortality in Afghanistan, and polio, the eradication of which in Afghanistan is deemed a priority by UNICEF and WHO-, Japan will provide assistance for the procurement of vaccines, syringes, and other supplies to vaccinate a total of 11 million children under five years of age against measles and polio.
(4) Assistance for primary health care and medical services (Ministry of Finance)
3.5 million dollars
Japan will support the creation of a framework for the provision of primary health care services contracting NGOs (500 thousand dollars from the Japan Social Development Fund administered by the World Bank), and provide subsequent assistance for the pilot implementation of those services (3 million dollars from the Japan Fund for Poverty Eradication of the Asia Development Bank).
(5) Survey for urgent reconstruction assistance in Kabul and Kandahar
Total approx. 87 million yen
In response to a request made by the Transitional Administration, following the production of the short-term reconstruction assistance plan in education and health/medical services, Japan implemented emergency rehabilitation projects, such as repair and construction of schools in Kabul and Kandahar.
(6) Provision of sports equipment to the Afghanistan University of Education Approx.
40 million yen
In order to promote sports and to train teachers of physical education, Japan will provide sports equipment through its grassroots cultural grant aid to the Afghanistan University of Education, which is the only university in Afghanistan to have a department of physical education.
(7) Afghanistan Reconstruction Assistance Project (UNDP)
Approx. 950,000 dollars
Japan is supporting this UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) project to identify reconstruction assistance needs and coordinate assistance efforts utilizing the framework of South-South cooperation. More specifically, in addition to helping to set up an aid coordination department for South-South cooperation within the Transitional Administration, Japan will provide advisory services for the holding of business forums.
4. Collaboration and Cooperation with NGOs
NGOs are important partners for reconstruction assistance for Afghanistan. Japan intends to strengthen its collaboration with NGOs operating in Afghanistan. Since last November, Japan has approved support for 21 NGO assistance projects (total of approximately 1.77 million dollars).
(1) Collaboration with Japanese NGOs
7 projects; total: 880 thousand dollars
Sponsored by the Japanese embassy in Afghanistan, the Japanese government holds regular meetings with Japanese NGOs. During his visit to Afghanistan last December, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Shindo also inspected NGO project sites and held discussions with NGO representatives. Japanese government(supported NGO projects being carried out since last November are:
a. Hospital Bed and Wheel Chair Donation Project
(Group for the Donation of Hospital Beds to Afghanistan)
b. Project for Relief and care of Afghan war orphans from Trauma and PTSD
(NGO Aid for War Orphans in Asia)
c. School Uniform provision for female students and teachers in Kabul Project
(Save the Children Japan)
d. Rehabilitation of 3 schools in Kabul Province
(Peace Winds Japan)
e. Emergency winter medical aid in Kabul
(Japan International Friendship and Welfare Foundation)
f. Project for the Improvement of Health and Medical Care for Residents in Gulran District, Herat Province
(Nippon International Cooperation for Community)
g. Project for Assistance to Medical Department of Balkh Medical College
(Medical Relief Unit, Japan)
(2) Collaboration with international NGOs and local NGOs
14 projects; total: 890 thousand dollars
The Japanese government will strengthen its ties not only with Japanese NGOs but also with international NGOs and local Afghanistani NGOs. Japan has been supporting these NGOs mainly for projects in the fields of education and medical and health care. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Japan has provided over 3.3 million dollars through its grassroots grant aid to a total of 38 projects.