TOKYO — The following statement was issued on Dec. 21 by Hikariko Ono, press secretary of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“On Dec. 20, it became obvious that the Taliban decided to suspend girls’ higher education in Afghanistan.
“Japan is deeply concerned and strongly condemns the Taliban’s further restriction of Afghan women and girls, following the decision not to re-open secondary schools to Afghan girls on March this year, despite the relentless efforts to convey the expectations of Japan and the international community.
“It is a fundamental right for all Afghans to be guaranteed equal access to education, regardless of gender. This is also essential for Afghanistan’s future economic development.
“Japan, in coordination with the international community, will continue to urge the Taliban to fully and promptly resume the girls’ education, and will continue our efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.”