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Responding to calls by the United Nations for financial assistance to the people of Afghanistan, Japan announced Thursday that it is ready to provide up to $120 million to the U.N. in preparation for the “worst-case scenario in the coming six months.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said the $120 million would cover 20 percent of the $584 million sought by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for the war-ravaged nation. On Sept. 27, Annan launched the appeal to shore up U.N. humanitarian effort for some 7.5 million Afghans, including those seeking shelter in neighboring states and expected to need emergency aid to survive.

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