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OGATA Sadako

November 6, 2008

New Airport Terminal Built with Japanese Assistance Opens in Kabul

Kabul’s new international airport terminal was officially inaugurated Thursday (November 6) and JICA President Mrs. Sadako Ogata described the complex as both a ‘gateway’ to the world and a ‘lifeline for reconstruction’ to the water-battered country.

Mrs. Ogata attended the event as the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Aso of Japan which provided Y3 billion in grant aid for the terminal including construction equipment and airport vehicles.

The opening of the terminal is part of a broader effort by JICA which is developing a master plan for the Kabul metropolitan area as the region attempts to repair the ravages of decades of war and accommodate a rapidly expanding population which has been migrating to the capital following the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001.

“This airport is a gateway with the international community as well as the lifeline for reconstruction,” Mrs. Ogata said at the official inauguration. “Despite the continuing unstable security situation, it is a firm SYMBOL of reconstruction and progress.”

She added that “Since the Tokyo International Conference (on Afghanistan) in 2002, Afghanistan has achieved remarkable progress, from the foundation and establishment of governing institutions, to the recovery of physical and social infrastructure.”

Japan had already provided $US1.45 billion in aid and was committed to a further tranche of $US550 million pledged at a Paris Conference in June, Mrs. Ogata said.

JICA’s Focus
Inside the country, in addition to developing the Kabul master plan, JICA has focused its help on education, vocational training, health, agriculture, water supply and sewage clearance as well as rural and urban development. More than 500 schools had been reconstructed or restored with Japanese assistance.

Japan has also participated in the demobilization of fighters from various factions and support for maritime interdiction operations in the Indian Ocean.

Mrs. Ogata has been intimately linked with Afghanistan for many years. As the High Commissioner for the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) during the 1990s she was responsible for assisting around six million Afghan refugees who had fled to neighboring Pakistan and Iran during years of war.

She co-chaired the Tokyo conference in 2002 which launched the reconstruction process in Afghanistan, was the Special Representative for the Japanese Prime Minister to the country and continued her association through JICA’s ongoing projects.

She said that as long as Afghans themselves were committed to rebuilding the country “The Japanese government will be more than pleased to continue as much assistance as possible” and concluded that “I hope [the new terminal] will flourish as the symbol of Japan-Afghan cooperation.”

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