"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Makiko Tanaka at the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] January 21, 2002
[Source] http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/middle_e/afghanistan/min0201/fm0121.html
[Full text]

I am pleased to welcome all of you today to the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan. It is a great honor for us to convene this meeting in Tokyo.

Ever since I took office as Foreign Minister, the importance of conflict prevention has always been on my mind. The success of conflict prevention depends on whether people can respect diversity. If people can respect different cultures, values or opinions, they can live together in peace. Such a perspective will contribute to the promotion of human security, as well as to conflict prevention.

This is what the world has learned from what happened in Afghanistan over the past twenty years. Once a nation is devastated by wars, reconstruction takes so much energy. Many lives were lost and human dignity was destroyed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. International society should counter terrorist threats, but it should also look at the root causes of terrorism. By doing so, we can put an end to terrorism.

It is only one month since the Interim Authority was established in Afghanistan. The political process, which is moving forward with the help of Ambassador Brahimi, and the process of reconstruction are two wheels of a cart. Thus, the two processes have to proceed in parallel. In the political process, the people of Afghanistan must make efforts for their own happiness, based on their Islamic culture and the diverse traditions of their country.

The process of reconstruction requires a joint effort by the international community, including national governments, international organizations and NGOs. At the same time, we should not forget that international assistance could be meaningful only with the efforts of the people of Afghanistan. Our final goal is an Afghanistan that can stand on its own feet.

Bearing these points in mind, Japan intends to take concrete steps to assist the process of reconstruction, based on the following ideas.

First, "de-mining." This is important from the point of view of security, which is a necessary condition for reconstruction. Our second focus will be on governance. For this purpose, we are contributing one million US dollars to the United Nations Afghan Interim Authority Fund.

Rebuilding communities will also be an important focus of our assistance. After all, it is people that will undertake the process of reconstruction. But there are limits to what any one person can accomplish. Thus, we need communities in order to attain our significant goal of reconstruction.

In order to rebuild communities, it is necessary to immediately start assisting "education." "Education" is indeed essential for the continuous efforts of nation-building. For this purpose, "media infrastructure" must be restored as well. In addition, Japan is prepared to contribute in such areas as "medical and health care" and "empowerment of women."

Based on these views, as Prime Minister Koizumi announced, Japan will contribute up to five hundred million US dollars over the next two and a half years. For this assistance to be really beneficial, the people of Afghanistan must continue their efforts to restore peace and security and achieve national reconciliation based on the Bonn Agreement. I hope that, one day, Afghanistan will not be dependent on international aid anymore. All the international community can do is to create a favorable environment, and to assist them to start their efforts. Let us share our wisdom and experiences.

I would like to thank you once again for participating in this conference.

Thank you very much.