• Kyodo

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Japanese Ambassador Sadaaki Numata handed over a newly developed machine for mine-clearing operations to a U.N. office at a ceremony here Friday.

Antonio Donini, deputy coordinator of the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, said the machine would be used in the “most difficult areas” of Afghanistan, which has nearly 715 sq. km of mined areas that need clearing.

“The people of Afghanistan and employees of Mine Action Program for Afghanistan thank Japan for this valuable contribution,” Donini said at the end of a nearly half-hour demonstration in a simulated minefield outside Islamabad.

The antipersonnel mine disposal vehicle was developed by a Japanese consortium, and one of its sister models has been used for demining in Cambodia. It employs an excavator, fitted with a 10-meter-long hydraulic arm with titanium cutting teeth and several other accessories.

Costing nearly $350,000, the Land Mine Clearance System has been obtained by UNOCHA out of commitments by Japan in response to the 1999 consolidated U.N. appeal for Afghanistan.

Japan has provided more than $15 million for demining activities in Afghanistan and $6 million for assistance to land mine victims over the last 10 years, he said.