H.E. President Karzai, H.E. Minister Rassoul, H.E. Minister Spanta, H.E. Minister Zakhilwal, H.E. Deputy Minister Ludin achieve inspiring results through international conference in Tokyo, meetings with Japanese and international leaders. Ambassador Fatimie, Embassy staff extend support

July 7-10, 2012: H.E. President Hamid Karzai, along with H.E. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Dr. Rangin Spanta, National Security Advisor; H.E. Mr. Omar Zakhilwal, Minister of Finance; H.E. Mr. Jawed Ludin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and an accompanying delegation of key figures visited Tokyo, with H.E. the President staying for the period of July 7 – 10. The Embassy in Tokyo provided support under Ambassador Dr. Sayed M. Amin Fatimie’s leadership to create an environment conducive to accomplishing much. The visit has been praised by the Afghan side, the Japanese hosts, and the international parties involved in the events of the days as highly successful and beyond expectations. Highlights of key events follow.

July 7: a meeting of nations involved in the Heart of Asia initiative was organized at the Embassy. The “Heart of Asia” is a regional grouping of nations that are working to together create a framework for addressing shared threats and capitalizing on shared opportunities. Co-chaired by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as represented by H.E. D.M. Ludin, the Republic of Turkey, and the United Nations, assembled attendees discussed a number of issues, but in particular cooperative disaster relief. (photograph below, bottom)

July 8: the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan was held, bringing together representatives of roughly 80 nations and international organizations. The focus of the meeting was on facilitating Afghanistan’s success in the years of 2012-2014, the “Transition Period,” and 2015-2024, “Transformational Decade.” These important periods will be largely defined as building upon previous achievements in order to strengthen the Afghan government, its ability to create revenue sources, and to complete the Afghanization of security. Nations together pledged over US$16 billion in support over 4 years, with Japan alone pledging US$3 billion over 5 years. H.E. President Karzai, who also held a number of key bilateral meetings on the sidelines, expressed His deepest gratitude for the solidarity of the International Community in the shared holy mission of supporting Afghanistan and once again showing the world’s resolve to stand together against terrorism and for peace and stability. (photograph of the event featuring H.E. Foreign Minister Rassoul below, second from the bottom)

July 9: H.E. the President engaged in two important public events on the 9th and meetings with key figures.

  • In the morning, H.E. spoke to an inclusive representation of Japanese media at the Japan National Press Club. In His opening comments, H.E. the President reiterated the success of the Tokyo Conference, and spoke on the important role that Japan has played in strengthening Afghanistan’s democratic government since the beginning. The speech can be viewed on the JNPC’s Youtube site by clicking here.
  • In the afternoon, H.E. President Karzai received an overwhelmingly warm welcome at Japan Sports Science University from the faculty, chief among them Chairman of the Board Kenshiro Matsunami, students, and assembled guests. After having the honor of being bestowed an honorary doctorate degree, H.E. President Karzai spoke to those in attendance about Afghanistan’s accomplishments, focusing largely those in the realm of sports. Furthermore, the President stated that “there is so much that Afghanistan can learn, should learn from Japan,” mentioning that not only are the Afghan students in Japan daily absorbing valuable lessons in technical skills, language and culture, and manners, H.E. President Karzai himself has taken inspiration as well. This was followed by a tree planting ceremony. Once again, the hospitality extended by Chairman Matsunami and the school cannot be praised enough, as the school made great efforts in such ways as displaying Afghan flags around the school, preparing Afghan touches in staffs’ wardrobes, preparing a live rendition of the Afghan national anthem by a Japanese opera singer, and the Chairman himself gave his remarks in Dari, one of the national languages of Afghanistan.
  • Diplomatically, this day was of great importance as well as H.E. President Karzai met with the extremely welcoming H.E. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. In this meeting, the strong bond and historically warm friendship of the two nations was reaffirmed. H.E. President Karzai offered sincerest appreciation for the support that had been offered directly by Japan over the years as well as at the previous day’s conference, and also for the facilitating role that Japan played in gathering the world’s support. H.E. the President on this day additionally met with Madame Ogata and Afghan students studying in Japan.

July 10: On H.E. President Karzai’s final day in Tokyo, He was able to partake in two especially important meetings.

  • H.E. President Karzai received a very cordial welcome by H.M. the Emperor at the Imperial Palace. Having long been personally connected to Afghanistan, meetings with H.E. the Emperor are highly prioritized and valued. At this most auspicious of meetings, H.E. President Karzai briefed His Majesty on the recent developments, expressing deepest gratitude and sincerest wishes of well-being by the people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
  • H.E. the President was able to call upon members of the Afghan-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship League. The group which serves as a linkage between lawmakers of the two nations expressed their interest in continuing to expand its scope and further strengthen the already solid relations between the two countries. H.E. the President encouraged this positive mindset.

(photos of the Japan National Press Club and Nippon Sport Science University are courtesy of Mr. Lin Yen-Ting (Chase)).