Visiting Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani asked Japan on Monday to offer further economic assistance during an international donors’ conference in Berlin later this month.

In his talks with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, Ghani voiced hope Japan and other donor nations will commit to a multiyear financial aid package to ensure Afghan’s reconstruction, a Japanese official said.

Afghanistan has estimated it needs roughly $28 billion over the next seven years. The two-day Berlin conference will begin March 31.

Kawaguchi said Japan will consider whether it can make a commitment of this kind, adding that the government will do its utmost to help rebuild Afghan, the official said.

“Since (Afghanistan) will be a precedent as a postconflict nation in the process of building peace, (Japan) cannot make light of this situation,” Kawaguchi was quoted as telling Ghani.

Although Kawaguchi said she will not be able to take part in the ministerial-level conference in Berlin, Sadako Ogata, Japan’s special representative on Afghanistan, is expected to attend, the official said.

During a donors’ conference on Afghanistan held in Tokyo in January 2002, Japan pledged to offer $500 million over 2 1/2 years. Almost all of the pledged amount has been provided, a Foreign Ministry official said.

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