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Karzai welcomes Japanese investment in minerals

 Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan address the press after their talks at Kan's office in Tokyo on T...
 Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, walks with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan following a press conference at Kan's office in Tokyo on T...
 Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, is greeted by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan before their talks at Kan's office in Tokyo, Thursday, June 17, ...
 Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan prior to their talks at Kan's office in Tokyo on Th...

Japan Afghanistan

Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan address the press after their talks at Kan's office in Tokyo on T...

Japan Afghanistan

Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, walks with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan following a press conference at Kan's office in Tokyo on T...

Japan Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, is greeted by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan before their talks at Kan's office in Tokyo, Thursday, June 17, ...

Japan Afghanistan

Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan prior to their talks at Kan's office in Tokyo on Th...

President Hamid Karzai said Friday he welcomes investment from Japan to tap into Afghanistan's plentiful mineral wealth after it emerged this week the war-torn country possesses massive untapped mineral resources.
The U.S. Department of Defense earlier this week put a $1 trillion price tag on the country's reserves of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals, but Afghanistan's minister of mines, Wahidullah Shahrani, said that's a conservative estimate.
Shahrani said Thursday there was at least $3 trillion worth of untapped minerals in his nation.
"The prospects for Afghanistan are massively great and good. It's a country that will not only be rich but will be very rich," Karzai said at a Tokyo hotel on Friday. "It will be the industrial hub of mineral resources."
Karzai said he planned to visit Mitsubishi Corp., a Japanese trading company that invests in mining projects around the world, later in the day.
"Afghanistan should give access as a priority to those countries that have helped Afghanistan massively in the past," Karzai told reporters.
Tokyo announced in November a five-year pledge of $5 billion to help Afghanistan strengthen security as well as support agriculture and infrastructure. Japan is Afghanistan's second-largest donor after the U.S.
However, lawlessness and the Taliban-led insurgency continue to obstruct development efforts in the country despite billions allocated in foreign aid and the presence of tens of thousands of international forces. Insecurity will likely complicate efforts to exploit the nation's mineral wealth.
Corruption in Karzai's administration is also a major problem believed to have helped fuel the insurgency.
During his visit, Karzai met with Emperor Akihito and was set to go to Hiroshima's peace park and the ancient capital of Nara before leaving Sunday.