(As delivered)


16 October 2003

Mr. President,

The growing threat of terrorism, as demonstrated by the bombings at a hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia and at UN Headquarters in Baghdad, India in August and in the city center of Mumbai last month, as well as the terrorist attacks frequently occurring in Iraq in recent months, poses an extremely grave challenge to our efforts toward building a more decent world. I would like to reiterate the importance of resolute action on the part of the international community in the fight against terrorism, and touch upon the following three points in this connection.

First, I have repeatedly pointed out that it is important to deny safe haven to terrorists. Despite the repeated appeals of the international community, the numbers of contracting parties to the counter-terrorism conventions and protocols are still far from satisfactory. In this connection, Japan has organized a seminar that is being held today and tomorrow in Tokyo, with a view to encouraging accession to these counter-terrorism conventions by countries in Southeast Asia. International and regional efforts are also essential in order to deny safe haven to terrorists. We welcome the strengthening of cooperation between the CTC and other international and regional organizations. One example of a regional effort in Asia is the ASEM Seminar on Anti-Terrorism held last month in Beijing, co-sponsored by China, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Japan. My country is determined to continue efforts to further strengthen such international and regional cooperation.

Second, as regards the task of denying terrorists access to the means of committing terrorist acts, the importance of promoting the conclusion of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of strictly implementing the sanctions imposed on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban by Security Council resolution 1267 and subsequent resolutions can hardly be overemphasized. Efforts by UN Member States, however, should not stop there. They need to go well beyond these measures. Japan has frozen the assets of the military wing of Hamas in accordance with resolution 1373, but in light of the fact that Hamas has expressed its tolerance of and support for terrorism, we have decided to take measures to freeze the assets of Hamas as a whole. We believe that these measures taken by Japan will encourage further efforts by the Palestinian Authority to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, as required by the "Road Map," and thus contribute to achieving peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians and to bringing about peace in the Middle East.

With regard to the arms that can be used as the direct means of committing terrorist acts, we welcome the recent recommendation of the group of governmental experts on the UN Register of Conventional Arms that MANPADS (man-portable air defense systems) be included among the categories of arms subject to registration and reporting. We hope that the inclusion of these weapons in the UN Register, once agreed upon by the Member States, will make a significant contribution to preventing terrorists from acquiring them. We are also of the view that the CTC and the Security Council as a whole should seriously address the issue of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the context of our fight against terrorism.

Third, a lack of capacity due to a variety of constraints prevents many developing countries from taking effective counter-terrorism measures, although they recognise their importance and have the earnest intention of implementing them. It is essential to extend assistance for capacity building to those developing countries. Japan will continue to contribute in this area through activities such as inviting conference and seminar participants from developing countries, in coordination with the CTC.

Mr. President,

The necessity of addressing the root causes of terrorism has been underscored on numerous occasions. Identifying and addressing the root causes is crucial, and all parties are called upon to make a serious effort to eradicate them. However, while acknowledging the need to address the underlying causes of terrorism, Mr. President, we can never accept the existence of root causes as justification for the use of terrorism, or as an excuse for delay in taking effective counter-terrorism measures. We should be aware that only with resolute will and determined action will we be able to overcome the threat of terrorism.

Thank you very much.

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