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Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008

Afghanistan welcomes Japan's help, urges greater contribution

Staff writer

Halting borderless acts of terrorism calls for a unified international effort in Afghanistan, including a continued contribution by Japan, experts said Monday during a symposium at the Afghan Embassy in Tokyo.

News photo
Brick by brick: Afghan Senior Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala speaks Monday at the Afghan Embassy in Tokyo about his country's reconstruction. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

Afghan Senior Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala urged Japan not only to continue its refueling mission in the Indian Ocean but to look beyond such efforts.

The Upper House is deliberating a special bill to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's mission in the Indian Ocean to refuel multinational warships engaged in the "war on terrorism."

But Arsala, who served as vice president of the transitional administration in Afghanistan, said Japan should move on from questioning whether to contribute to antiterrorism efforts and instead "consider how to play an effective role" in the region.

Afghan Ambassador to Japan Haron Amin reiterated his country's appreciation of the MSDF refueling mission but called on Tokyo to do more.

"We don't want to get involved in domestic policies," he said, but added that he "would like to ask more from Japan" and urged Tokyo to raise its level of aid to Afghanistan.

Tadahiro Abe, the Foreign Ministry's top official in charge of assistance coordination to Afghanistan, pledged that Japan would continue contributing to the reconstruction of the war-torn country.

He explained that the Constitution renounces the use of force, but the government plans to do all it can to aid Afghanistan through peaceful means.

"The realization of stability and development in Afghanistan is indispensable," Abe said, noting some achievements, including the reopening of the airport in Kabul last week. The terminal was constructed with aid from Japan.

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