SLUG: 2-285382 Japan / Afghan Aid
TITLE=JAPAN/AFGHAN AID (L-ONLY)
INTRO: The Japanese cabinet on Friday approved almost 50-million dollars in emergency aid for Afghanistan. As V-O-A's Amy Bickers reports from Tokyo, the money will come from reserve funds in the government's budget.
TEXT: The Japanese government says that the money will be distributed through the United Nations and other international organizations. About 20-million dollars is earmarked for clearing landmines throughout Afghanistan, where an estimated five to 10 million mines are buried after more than 20 years of war. The money also will be used to help refugees and displaced people within the country.
/// FUKUDA ACT IN JAPANESE, FADE UNDER ///
Government spokesman Yasuo Fukuda says the Japanese government plans to provide appropriate support for the stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
He also says Tokyo will grant one million dollars in financial assistance to Afghanistan's interim administration.
The announcement Friday comes as Tokyo prepares for a two-day ministerial meeting on rebuilding Afghanistan. The gathering, which opens Monday, will include representatives of more than 50 countries and international organizations.
At that meeting, Japan is expected to pledge as much as half-a-billion dollars in aid to be used over the next two-and-a-half years. (Signed)
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