• Kyodo

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Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma and his Italian counterpart, Arturo Parisi, agreed late Thursday to support building stronger ties between Japan and NATO and provide further help for war-torn Afghanistan, Japanese officials said.

Parisi was quoted as telling Kyuma that Italy, as a country involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, is interested in what Japan can contribute to the effort.

Kyuma said Tokyo will consider measures including financial assistance, the officials said.

During the meeting, Kyuma also voiced Japan’s concerns about a European Union move to lift its ban on arms exports to China, citing the opaque nature of China’s military spending, the officials said.

Kyuma called for “prudent” handling of the matter on the part of the EU, they said, adding Parisi replied that Italy acknowledges Japan’s concerns.

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