Geneva, 11 December 2007

On Agenda Item 6
Ways and means to enhance national implementation, including enforcement of national legislation, strengthening of national institutions and coordination among national law enforcement institutions

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished delegates,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you, Ambassador Khan, most warmly on your assumption of the chair of the Meeting of States Parties. I wish you every success in discharging your important tasks to guide the work of this Meeting. I pledge the fullest cooperation of my delegation to your endeavors.

1. Overview

Mr. Chairman,

The main objective of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is the prohibition and elimination of biological and toxin weapons. Nonetheless, against the backdrop of the current challenges to the BWC of bioterrorism and the rapid progress in life sciences, national implementation is above all things a crucial issue for the accomplishment of the full and effective implementation of the BWC. The Sixth Review Conference of the BWC last year reaffirmed as a common understanding of the States Parties the commitment to take necessary national measures. For the future strengthening of the BWC it is extremely important that at this meeting we not only reaffirm the significance of national implementation, but also further deepen our common understanding of its concrete elements based on the States Parties' commitments, and then translate that understanding into real actions.

2. Japan's Position

Mr. Chairman,

The synthesis paper circulated by you in advance of this meeting will provide great stimulus for discussions, and the delegation of Japan would like to express its thanks for your efforts. The scope of national implementation, as demonstrated by the numerous elements incorporated into the synthesis paper, is exceptionally broad. As Japan expressed at the Review Conference last year, we believe that in addition to the enactment of national legislation, which is a fundamental obligation of the Convention, it is critical to implement national measures in a variety of areas, such as export control, bio-security, education and enlightenment. Above all, as it was apparent in the working paper we submitted to this year's Meeting of Experts, enacting and enhancing national legislation, including regular reviews, as well as strengthening national law enforcement institutions is of paramount importance. The adoption and enhancement of national legislation and the strengthening of national law enforcement institutions are two parts of one set, and the absence of either would make the accomplishment of the full and effective implementation of the Convention difficult. Today, along with the topic of this Meeting of States Parties, I would like to focus on both these areas.

(1) Enacting and strengthening national legislation

Mr. Chairman,

First and foremost, it is essential the States Parties ensure all the obligations of the Convention are covered by national legislation. Furthermore, what is important upon the enactment of national legislation is to establish appropriate penalties as well as to apply those penalties to nationals abroad.

In this regard, Japan has enacted a law for the implementation of the BWC, which enforces the prohibitions stipulated in Article I of the Convention and establishes appropriate penalties in correspondence with the required provisions. Additionally, upon ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, Japan strengthened the BWC Implementation Law through its revision by adding an article on the punishment of crimes committed outside Japan related to the use of biological and toxin weapons. Moreover, with a further revision to the law currently under discussion in the Japanese Diet for applying this article to the punishment of crimes committed outside our national territory for the production, retention, transfer and acquisition of biological or toxin weapons, Japan is actively reviewing its national legislation.

There are cases of States Parties guaranteeing the obligations of the Convention, not by a BWC Implementation Law, but through combining provisions with other existing laws. What is important, however, is the full implementation of the Convention's obligations, and Japan's other laws related to infectious diseases, or export and import control play a significant role in complementing and strengthening the national implementation of the BWC.

In any event, it is necessary for each country to re-examine whether their national laws sufficiently ensure the requirements of the BWC, to perform regular reviews, and if they are inadequate, to undertake revisions.

(2) Strengthening national law enforcement institutions (Coordination among national agencies)

Mr. Chairman,

Coordination among national law enforcement institutions has been explicitly included in this year's topic of national implementation. Nonetheless, even in the case when laws have been enacted, if there is a lack of institutions that can reliably enforce those laws, accomplishing the full and effective implementation of the Convention will be difficult. For accomplishing the implementation of the BWC, establishing coordination among law enforcement organizations in addition to enacting legislation is indispensable.

For the purpose of strengthening law enforcement institutions, coordination between the public health authorities and police agencies is exceedingly important. Furthermore, strengthening the functions of coordinating authorities is vital for organizing cooperation overall.

In this regard, in light of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the Government of Japan has established a crisis management system to coordinate the activities of the entire government including public health authorities and police agencies. Additionally, Japan has enacted the Civil Protection Law, which stipulates the responsibilities of the national and local governments, as well as measures, such as warning, evacuation, relief, and response to disasters caused by an armed attack in order to protect the lives, bodies and properties of Japanese citizens and to minimize the adverse effects inflicted upon people's livelihoods in the situation of an armed attack on Japan. Efforts are being made to coordinate organizations involved in law enforcement, such as joint exercises organized by the Government of Japan for civil protection in cooperation with national and local authorities based on the Civil Protection Law. Currently, the Cabinet Secretariat oversees all our activities and ensures the effective coordination among relevant authorities in armed attack situations.

In addition to coordination among national and local authorities, it is also important to actively coordinate private actors, such as researchers and industry, and for government and industry to closely work together to strengthen prevention and response systems. Japan must make future efforts in this area, too.

Japan hopes that as a result of this meeting, the States Parties will affirm as a common understanding that national implementation is not only the enactment of national legislation but also the continuous review of law enforcement systems in order to ensure their effectiveness. We also hope that this will develop into further strengthening of the BWC regime.

Thank you.

Related Information (Biological Weapons Convention (BWC))
Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament Official Web Site other site

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