On 26 July, 2019, a ceremony was held to hand over to the community 5,000,000 square metres of land cleared of landmines in Rushinga and Mount Darwin Districts, Mashonaland Central Province. Japan has joined other countries, including the US, the UK and Ireland, in supporting landmine clearance in the province. The Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, the Hon. Mrs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, was the guest of honour at the handover ceremony. Attending on behalf of the Embassy of Japan was the Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Kenichi Kasahara.
Japan’s grant supported the equipment and operational costs of five demining teams who cleared 176,000 square metres of land. Thanks to the cleared land, the communities now have safe and easy access to schools, clinics, fields and water sources, which greatly improves their safety and standard of living.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Hon. Muchinguri-Kashiri expressed her appreciation for the support of the donor countries, including Japan, and international organisations in order for Zimbabwe to be free of all landmines by 2025. Mr. Kasahara also applauded all the efforts made by the HALO team. By referring to the economic developments made by Japan after the Second World War, he mentioned that although Japan is now providing assistance to Zimbabwe, in the future it might be Zimbabwe’s turn to help Japan. He further expressed his wish for the goal of a mine-free Zimbabwe by 2025 to be achieved.