5th ASEM Conference on Counter-Terrorism
Reception Speech by Mr. Masayoshi Hamada,
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs
On May 15th 2007, at Shinagwa Prince Hotel


Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I extend my heartfelt welcome to you all.

Today, the international community confronts various new challenges which can only be addressed through our concerted efforts. Among others, combating the threat of terrorism, which goes beyond national boundaries, is an issue of priority. As a host country, we are delighted to organize the ASEM Conference on Counter-Terrorism, here in Tokyo. I sincerely appreciate your cooperation.

Looking at the situation of terrorism in the world, significant progress has been made as the international community has strengthened the fight against terrorism. However, we have still seen a series of terrorist bombings, including the one in Alger last month, in Mumbai last July, as well as an alleged plot to blow up airplanes in UK last August. Also, there is concern over an increasing number of home grown terrorists. Those circumstances prove that the threat of international terrorism still remains very serious. Japan believes that, to protect the people and states from such terrorism, it has become even more important to enhance counter-terrorism measures and reinforce international cooperation.

Combating terrorism requires a comprehensive approach such as ratifying counter terrorism conventions and making domestic legislations to implement them, intelligence sharing, and taking measures on immigration control and terrorist financing. At the same time, counter-terrorism capacity of each country needs to be enhanced. A mid and long term approach is also vital, which includes building an environment making it more difficult for terrorists to act, combating root causes of terrorism, and promoting mutual understanding among cultures, faiths and civilizations.

ASEM was initiated in 1996 as a new forum providing Asia and Europe to have dialogues between two regions undergoing dynamic changes and development in the post-cold war world. ASEM has steadily undertaken various activities in fields such as politics, economy, social and cultural affairs as well as the environment. As counter-terrorism requires a concerted effort by the international community, having participants from Asia and Europe under one roof to share observations and discuss the issue from both perspectives has significant value and meaning. Through today and tomorrow's discussions, I hope we will be able to deepen our mutual understanding and strengthen our cooperation.

Finally, I express once again our warmest welcome to all of the ASEM partners, including our new participants from Bulgaria, India, Mongolia, Romania and Pakistan, as well as to the representatives from CTED, UNODC, ILEA, JCLEC, and SEARCCT. I sincerely wish for the success of this conference.

I believe we have participants both who have come to Japan for the first time, and who have already come several times. Through this opportunity, I hope everybody will be able to look at not only the issues of counter-terrorism, but also at other aspects of Japan, and that will further develop our friendship.

Thank you very much.

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