Community of Democracies
Fourth Ministerial Conference

Regional Roundtable
"Asia and Oceania"

Statement by Dr. Tatsuo Arima,
The Representative of the Government of Japan,
16 November 2007, Bamako

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour to be allowed to give a statement on behalf of the Government at this Roundtable discussion. First of all, I should like to extend my deepest respect to the Government of the Republic of Mali for hosting the Fourth Ministerial Conference of Community of Democracies. I had the honour to have participated in the first meeting of the Community of Democracies held in Warsaw in the year 2000 on behalf of my government. In seven years, since, the Second in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, and the Third in Santiago, the Republic of Chile, the Community of Democracies has come to bear a historical significance as the only ministerial level forum to discuss how best to globalize the blessings of democracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We in Asia on the whole have accomplished remarkable economic growth. But in some parts, full realization of democracy, good governance and human rights remains as yet a challenge. It is, therefore, of great importance that Asian countries endeavour to nurture with mutual respect a common understanding on democracy, while further strengthening our ties in the economic sphere. There is no single model for democracy. The diversity among the Asian countries will warrant various forms of democracy according to their respective histories, cultures and development stages.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the recognition that the strong will and ownership of developing countries is the pre-requisite for democratization process, what we call "Japan's ODA Charter", which guides our aid policies, states: "The most important philosophy of Japan's ODA is to support the self-help efforts of developing countries based on good governance." Japan respects the ownership of development partners in their development policy, and Japan extends its cooperation based on the development strategies of our development partners through close consultation.

Among the countries that have launched upon democratization, there are unfortunately those in turmoil with poverty, ethnic conflicts or the lack of procedural skills in democratic governance. Japan has extended its support for their efforts to develop democratic procedures of legal or electoral systems.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In some of the Asian countries in transition trying to realize democracy and open market economy, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Uzbekistan, the development and revision of legal system has proven to be challenging. For these countries, Japan has provided cooperation for drafting, legislating and revising the civil code and the code of civil procedure for developing the legal system to train lawyers. As a result of such cooperation, the revised civil code, the code of civil procedure and the bankruptcy laws were passed by their parliaments in Vietnam and Cambodia.

For the prevention of corruption and the improvement of investigative capacity of law enforcement agencies in the region, Japan has supported the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI) to organize training courses for participants from 15 developing countries in Asia to strengthen their legal capacities to tackle corruption.

In order to maintain social safety and security, the capacity building of police authorities is crucial. The Government of Japan has provided cooperation in this regard, attaching importance to the resource development, while combining it with improvement of infrastructure and provision of equipment. For instance, by dispatching Japanese experts to Indonesia and inviting Indonesian trainees to Japan, the Government of Japan has conducted training sessions programmes to improve their investigative skills and identification techniques.

In addition, Japanese technical cooperation facilitated Singapore to establish the police box system similar to that in Japan. Based upon this experience, Japan in collaboration with Singapore has been trying to disseminate this system widely among the Asian countries. The police box system with the unarmed civil police always accessible to the citizens, patrolling its neighborhood to care for the vulnerable. The system is committed to the protection of the individual dignity.

In view of the growing importance of democratic peacebuilding aimed at the eventual creation of democratic societies after the conflict resolution, Japan launched this year a pilot programme for human resource development in Asia for democratic peacebuilding. We are currently sending trainees from Asian countries including Japan to the field offices of the international organizations and NGOs engaged in peacebuilding activities around the world.

Japan also extended ten million US dollars to the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), which was mentioned in "2005 Santiago Ministerial Commitment", and more than 120 projects are currently implemented to promote democracy institutionally and empower the citizens. UNDEF is one of the achievements of this conference. Japan expects that more such projects will be carried out in Asia and Oceania at the coming round of projects.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no single model for democracy. We should recognize that the evolution of democracy takes various forms as Japan's history testifies. The case of Japan also did early prove that democracy is not an exclusive prerogative of any particular culture. Democratization is an enterprise requiring the perseverance, courage and wisdom of vigilant people. Japan is willing to support such self-help efforts of developing countries by providing Japan's experience and expertise for democratic socio-economic development, and hopes to share the benefits of the democracy we have nurtured. We are here to discuss how best to help launch and accelerate the democratic momentum. This Conference has to be another important step to carry out this task imposed on the Community of Democracies.

Thank you.

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