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07TOKYO2650 2007-06-12 08:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tokyo
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1. (C) SUMMARY: Afghanistan's Ambassador in Tokyo, Haron
Amin, expressed skepticism on June 11 that Japan would be
willing to invest large sums in upgrading Afghanistan's
electrical power distribution sector, given Japan's focus to
date on funding rural development and the Disbandment of
Illegally Armed Groups (DIAG) process. At the same time, he
acknowledged that getting electricity to Kabul is one of his
government's top three priorities and said he would push for
this if directed to do so by his Ministry. Separately, he
requested an opportunity to meet with SCA DAS Gastright on
the margins of the upcoming DIAG conference in Tokyo to
discuss the U.S. counternarcotics program in his country.

2. (C) Embassy Tokyo political officer met June 11 with
Ambassador Amin to share with him Department's view that the
GOA should make a high level request for Japanese support in
upgrading Kabul's electrical distribution system, and to
advise him that Embassy Kabul would be discussing this with
GOA officials. Cautioning him that the Japanese have not
committed to such assistance, political officer stressed that
indications are the Japanese might entertain such a request
and that now is an excellent opportunity for the GOA to make
an overture.

3. (C) Ambassador Amin initially expressed skepticism and
asked where such a proposal had originated. He said it
sounded like something the U.S. would put forward in order to
get out of paying for the electricity system upgrades itself.
In addition, he noted, Japan has shown interest in
providing assistance to Afghanistan in the fields of rural
development, education, and DIAG. How much money would Japan
commit to the electricity upgrade, and where would it come
from, he asked rhetorically. Ambassador Amin said nothing to
indicate he was aware of any previous discussion between the
GOA and the Japanese on such a project.

4. (C) Political officer responded that whether the GOA
elects to make such a request of the Japanese is obviously a
decision to be taken in Kabul by the highest levels of the
Afghan government. The purpose of our demarche is simply to
indicate the Japanese have expressed a willingness to
entertain such a request both by their actions -- sending a
study team -- and in conversations with U.S. officials.
Further, if the government of Afghanistan does decide to
approach the Japanese, the United States would provide
support. Amin acknowledged that getting electricity to Kabul
is one of the GOA's top three priorities, and said that if
directed to do so by his government he would make a push for
this with the Japanese.

5. (C) Separately, Ambassador Amin said he would like to meet
with DAS Gastright on the margins of the upcoming DIAG
conference to discuss the counternarcotics program in
Afghanistan. He was advised his request would be passed