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OGATA Sadako

March 6, 2009

JICA President Mrs. Sadako Ogata is Appointed Special Envoy for Prime Minister Aso to Afghanistan and Pakistan

JICA President Mrs. Sadako Ogata has been appointed as a special envoy for Prime Minister Taro Aso to Afghanistan and Pakistan, it was announced Friday (March 6).

She will fly to the United States Sunday together with Motohide Yoshikawa, special representative for assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan, to confer with senior administration officials in Washington in her new role.

Mrs. Ogata has a long association with the region. During her decade-long role as the High Commissioner for the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) she was responsible for the welfare of more than six million Afghan refugees who fled their country during years of fighting, mainly to neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

UNHCR subsequently oversaw the return of the bulk of the refugees to Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

She co-chaired a Tokyo conference in 2002 which launched the reconstruction process in Afghanistan. Since then Japan has provided $US 1.45 billion in aid and is committed to a further tranche of $US550 million pledged at the Paris Conference in June, 2008.

She was the Special Representative for the Japanese Prime Minister to the country and in November, 2008, Mrs. Ogata attended the opening of Kabul’s international airport terminal. Japan provided Y3 billion in grant aid for the terminal construction including construction equipment, airport vehicles and the training of key personnel such as border agents and security guards.

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

The opening of the terminal was 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.

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 have been constructed or restored with Japanese help.

Mrs. Ogata’s appointment comes at a critical time for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The new Obama administration in Washington has already signaled its intention of sending additional troops to Afghanistan in the near future to try to control spreading turmoil in parts of that country.

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