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President Ogata visits Afghanistan to review reconstruction progress

December 11, 2007 (Gov of Japan): JICA President Mrs. Sadako Ogata flew to Afghanistan Tuesday (December 11) for a five-day visit during which she will review field projects and discuss future cooperation with government and other development officials.

She last visited the central Asian country three years ago for the inauguration of President Karzai.

During her stay, Mrs. Ogata will hold talks to both to review the country's reconstruction progress and to discuss future agency projects.

She will inspect JICA projects in the capital, Kabul, and in Masir-i-Sharif.

JICA is currently active in several sectors including rural development and agriculture, reproductive health and tuberculosis control, gender support, water resource development and particularly in education.

In that area projects are designed to strengthen teacher education, literacy, basic vocational training and special education needs.

Afghanistan remains one of the world's poorest nations and continues to need massive assistance in all basic areas.

Mrs. Ogata has been closely associated with the country for many years, latterly as head of JICA, but before that as the High Commissioner for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at which time there were more than six million Afghan refugees living in surrounding countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, before many of them began returning home following the downfall of the Taliban regime.