• Kyodo News


Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada left Monday for Kabul to attend an international meeting on Afghanistan’s reconstruction, during which he plans to announce new aid programs to help improve local security and reintegrate former Taliban fighters.

As the second-largest donor to the war-torn country after the United States, Japan’s offer will be worth tens of billion of yen. It will be covered by a pledge last November of up to $5 billion over five years.

Japan has already contributed about $2.4 billion for the country through international and nongovernmental organizations. The programs will feature vocational training for former Taliban insurgents to help them rebuild their family lives and find jobs in construction and civil engineering.

Okada will announce continued aid to meet detailed local needs in such areas as antidrug measures and land-mine clearance, as well as security by covering pay for Afghan police and having the National Police Agency train ranking officials.

Okada is slated to travel to Hanoi after the Kabul conference Wednesday to attend ministerial gatherings organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and to Laos on the last leg of his trip through next Monday.

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