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Following Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada’s surprise visit to Kabul on Sunday, the government is stepping up efforts to work out measures that can benefit Afghan people on the ground.

But this is turning out to be a difficult task because of the deteriorating security situation, and Japan’s presence in the region is likely to wane with the planned end in January of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Indian Ocean naval refueling mission in support of U.S.-led antiterrorism operations in and around Afghanistan.

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