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Japan to appoint envoy on Pakistan, Afghanistan

world Updated: Feb 25, 2009 09:39 IST

Japan said it would soon appoint a special envoy on Pakistani and Afghan affairs to join Washington's efforts to review its policies to bring stability to the region.

Prime Minister Taro Aso, who became the first foreign leader to meet US President Barack Obama at the White House, will name Japan's ambassador to Spain, Motohide Yoshikawa, as the envoy, a senior Japanese official said.

Yoshikawa and Sadako Ogata, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, will visit US special envoy Richard Holbrooke in the near future, said the official who attended the one-hour meeting between Obama and Aso.

"President Obama expressed his gratitude for the assistance Japan provided (for Pakistan and Afghanistan) and said he would welcome Japan's continued active roles in this area," the official said.

The move came as Japan prepares to host a donor conference for Pakistan as part of Tokyo's efforts to help bring stability to the region, including Afghanistan, in cooperation with US-led efforts to fight terrorism.

In his talks with Obama, Aso said he stressed importance of taking a regional approach to help Afghanistan.

"Regarding Afghanistan-Pakistan issue, it was not good to look at just Afghanistan, but we shared the view that it was also important to look at Pakistan and Iran," Aso told reporters.