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Statement by Ambassador Shigeki Sumi
Delegation of Japan
On agenda item 97: Crime prevention and criminal justice
and agenda item 98: International drug control
Sixty-third Session of the General Assembly
9 October 2008
With the rapid expansion of globalization, the safety of our citizens and the well-being of our societies and institutions have come under threat from transnational organized crime, including human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms, cybercrime, money laundering, terrorism, illicit drugs and corruption. These issues can not be addressed successfully by one country on its own. Strong international cooperation and coordination are needed.
Japan therefore recognizes the importance of assisting countries in their efforts to build capacity to address these threats and we reiterate our strong support for implementation of the relevant conventions and their protocols, which are the basis for such cooperation.
In this connection, I would like to draw your attention to three particularly important points.
Firstly, we must recognize that transnational organized crime, terrorism, drug problems and corruption are interrelated, and the approach we pursue must accordingly be comprehensive in scope.
Secondly, we should recognize that to address these issues, it is essential to establish the rule of law, develop human resources and create the necessary socio-economic infrastructure.
Thirdly, it is important that aid policy on these issues include a human security perspective. The communities that are vulnerable to the damages caused by illicit production of narcotics and related crimes often suffer from extreme poverty and socio-economic instability. It is therefore important to take action from the viewpoint of human security, which aims to protect individuals and empower them and their communities.
In the area of human trafficking, the value of UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) is broadly acknowledged both inside and outside of the United Nations. Japan continues to support UN.GIFT and we expect it to further play an advocacy role in the fight against human trafficking in many countries and become a useful tool in promoting technical assistance. In addition, we have taken a number of steps at the national level aimed at eliminating human trafficking and have engaged in cooperation to assist victims. I would just like to note that Japan led the discussion that resulted in the appeal for cooperation in the fight against human trafficking in the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
In the area of terrorism, Japan has already ratified all thirteen international counter-terrorism conventions and their protocols. Since 2003, it has held annual seminars focusing on countries of the Asia and Pacific region to facilitate their ratification and implementation processes. I believe the outcomes of these seminars have contributed to the adoption of antiterrorism legislation in those countries.
I also would like to point out the necessity of improving governance through the adoption of anticorruption measures. At its most recent Summit, the G8 recognized the importance of ratification and effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and of providing technical assistance to partner countries. I hope that agreement will be reached on the terms of reference of the review mechanism of the Convention and that the mechanism will go into operation in the very near future. On this issue, I would like to note the role that is being played by the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute (UNAFEI), based in Japan, which organizes training courses and seminars for officials from around the world. One such seminar was held early this year for high-ranking criminal justice officers for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive discussion on ways of combating corruption, and it succeeded in deepening the understanding of all participants.
On the war against drugs, next year we will begin to follow up the decade of activity that was set in motion by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). I believe it is essential that we maintain the momentum we generated at that important gathering and demonstrate that we continue to have the will to fight the pernicious effects of drugs. Over the past decade, Japan has made efforts to meet the goals and targets set at UNGASS and has strongly supported the wide range of UNGASS-related activities. There is wide recognition today that problems caused by synthetic drugs in Asia, the drug problems that exist in the area around Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and those caused by illicit trafficking in drugs via Africa are growing worse. In the past three years, Japan chaired the donor coordination meeting on drugs (Central Dublin Group) to enhance the synergy of assistance for fighting against drugs. We therefore welcome the discussion that was held in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs concerning UNGASS.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to reaffirm the commitments Japan made previously to contribute to international efforts in the areas we are considering here today. We face complex challenges that require efforts over the long term. We highly appreciate the role played by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in addressing those challenges and stand ready to cooperate closely with it and other relevant international organizations.
Japan is firmly of the belief that collective international efforts can make a difference, and it will therefore continue to strengthen its campaign to realize a society free from transnational organized crime, terrorism, illicit drugs and corruption.
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