(AP) – Japan said Tuesday it plans to provide up to $5 billion in new Afghanistan aid over the next 5 years as the country’s naval refueling mission in the region draws to a close.
The Foreign Ministry made the announcement days before President Barack Obama is due in Tokyo for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.
Japan currently operates a refueling mission in the Indian Ocean in support of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, but Hatoyama’s government has repeatedly said it will let the mission expire in January.
Tokyo’s new pledge of support comes as it seeks to redefine its long-standing military alliance with the U.S. and as Obama is reviewing his options for a new strategy in the Afghanistan conflict.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a release that the new funds will be used in areas such as building up the police force and on agriculture and other infrastructure projects.