Japan To Bear Costs For Air Traffic Control In Afghanistan Under Oda

Japan to bear costs for air traffic control in Afghanistan under ODAJapan, at Washington's behest, will shoulder the expenses for air traffic control services for civilian aircraft in Afghanistan starting in July.
The budget for this will be within the framework of the government’s official development assistance (ODA), sources said.

The decision, which was made at U.S. prodding, is widely seen as shouldering the responsibility of Washington, which has provided the expenses for the services but is scaling down its involvement in Afghanistan.

According to the Foreign Ministry, it will be the first time that Japan has assisted air traffic control services in a conflict-torn region.

The expenses will run to about $25 million (3 billion yen) for six months until the end of this year, sources said.

Since the end of last year, the expenses for handling air traffic control for civilian aircraft in the Afghan capital of Kabul have been covered by the United States. The air traffic control services have been operated by U.S. firms.

Although the Afghan government was slated to assume the costs for the services from July onward, it sought financial assistance from Japan because it lacked the funds to take on the task.

The United States also asked Japan to provide assistance.

Because the assistance will not include directly instructing military aircraft, the ministry concluded that Japan’s assistance will fall into the category of nonmilitary cooperation, thereby meeting the basic policy of ODA.

However, because fighting still rages in and around Kabul, cooperation with the local military will be necessary to operate air traffic control services, even though they are designed for civilian aircraft.

The expenses will be covered by a fund, obtained from reselling light oil that Afghanistan purchased through a Japanese ODA grant.