Keynote Address by Mr. Shigeo UETAKE,
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs (Japan)

24 May, 2001

G8 Government/Private Sector High-Level Meeting on High-tech Crime (Tokyo Conference)


   Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates of the governments and the private sector from the G8 countries, honorable delegates of international organizations, ladies and gentlemen.

   It is a great pleasure for Japan to have with us so many guests here in Tokyo and to have an opportunity to discuss the issue of high-tech crime, which is a great concern for the international community today.

(Current situation of high-tech crime)

   There is no argument for usefulness and potentiality of Information Technology. Convinced that the development of IT will bring about a bright future for human beings, Japan took the initiative in the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit last year to adopt the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society, which solemnly declare that IT is one of the most potent forces in shaping the twenty-first century. In recent policy speech made by Prime Minister Koizumi, Japan's determination to further promote IT was declared.

   On the other hand, where there is a light, there always exists a shadow. The dark side of IT is certainly high-tech crime, against which you are struggling to fight day and night. High-tech crime not only causes enormous damage to individual victims, but also impairs confidence in and potentiality of IT itself and therefore seriously damages the future prospect of human beings.

   Moreover, high-tech crime ranges widely from conventional crime taking advantage of IT, such as Internet fraud, distribution of harmful information and infringement upon intellectual property rights, to unauthorized access by hackers, destruction of data with computer viruses, attack upon or destruction of the system itself. The progress of IT also increases danger of misuse of IT and we cannot deny the possibility of yet other problems arising. Therefore, we need to constantly renew our recognition of high-tech crime and take countermeasures based on extensive discussions.

   It is common interest of the governments, the private sector and especially users at large who are main players in the field of IT, to respond to and deal with the issue promptly before high-tech crime plays havoc with the convenience and potentiality of IT. It is in this recognition that the G8 leaders stressed the importance of dialogue between government and private sectors regarding high-tech crime and expressed their expectation for this Tokyo conference in the G8 Okinawa Communique last year.

   The measures against high-tech crime are designed to enhance our confidence in IT and maximize its potentiality. Needless to say, therefore, we need to be careful not to make those measures end up damaging convenience of IT and nipping its progress in the bud. In this sense, I would like to emphasize that preventive measures to deter high-tech crime from occurring, along with crackdown on such crime are also crucial.

   Furthermore, whatever steps we may choose, it is necessary to strike a balance among all the social values and factors, including public safety, privacy, confidentiality of correspondence, consistency with basic legal principles and possible cost inflicted the whole private sector and society. To strike this balance, dialogue between the governments and the private sector is extremely effective and this is exactly where the meaning of this meeting lies.

(International commitment, especially cooperation with the private sector up to today)

   The significance of measures against high-tech crime has been long pointed out.

   In this context, cooperation between the governments and the private sector has been recognized to be of great importance. Following the communique at the G8 Justice and Interior ministers' meeting in Washington in 1997, its importance was also affirmed by the leaders for the first time at the Birmingham Summit in 1998. It was also emphasized at the G8 Justice and Interior Ministers' meeting in Moscow in October 1999, followed by the 1st G8 Government-Private Sector High-Level Meeting on High-Tech Crime in Paris in May 2000 and the Government-Private Sector Workshop Meeting in Berlin in October, which finally led to this meeting in Tokyo. I hope that discussion at this meeting will induce new development based on what has been discussed in those preceding meetings.

(What Japan has actually attained and developed)

   At the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in July last year, Japan committed itself to further promote IT. In response to this commitment, Japan is steadily making legislation towards the advent of IT-based society. "The Law Concerning Electronic Signatures and Certification Services" and "The Law on Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society " were enacted last year and in January this year respectively. In the latter, international harmonization and collaboration is recognized as one of the important pillars. For the purpose of dissolving the digital divide worldwide, the establishment of Digital Opportunities Task Force, so-called "Dot Force" was agreed upon at the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit and we were delighted to host its 1st meeting in Tokyo in November last year.

   Early this month, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced in his policy speech that he would steadily implement the "e-Japan Priority Policy Program" and formulate the "IT 2002 Program." Under the leadership of Prime Minister Koizumi, Japan is determined to further promote IT.

   In terms of measures against high-tech crime, Japan is making strenuous efforts to develop legislative and law enforcement infrastructure. Regarding legislation, "The Act Concerning the Prohibition of Unauthorized Computer Access" was enacted in 1999. Moreover, in the current session of the Diet, deliberation is scheduled on the Personal Information Protection Law as well as that on amendment of the Penal Code regarding counterfeit of credit card and other crime. While the organization called "the cyber police" was developed within the police, cooperation with the private sector is underway, including the establishment of "the Liaison Council with the Providers" in local police. In this way, Japan is striving to steadily implementing measures against high-tech crime.

(What I expect about the meeting)

   In the fight against high-tech crime, cooperation and communication between the governments and the private sector is crucial. I hope that trust and understanding between the governments and the private sector will be enhanced through frank exchange of opinions in this Tokyo Conference.

   High-tech crime may be committed via more than one country. To prevent and crack down on such crime, the international community has to take measures in concert. I think that the G8 countries are required to take the initiative in such international cooperation.

   On the other hand, G8 countries have their own domestic laws and practices. Therefore, we have to sufficiently take these into consideration when we discuss high-tech crime. It is also necessary to make practical discussions on the basis of the status of technology both present and future. We need to enhance our discussion to reinforce international cooperation while deepening mutual understanding on these legal and technical aspects.

   It is the joint project of the G8, which lead the world in the field of high-tech, to develop useful discussions through opportunities like this and to make these discussions widely shared among the G8 and beyond. I strongly hope that measures against high-tech crime will be further reinforced in the G8 and other international fora, based on the achievements of this meeting and taking as many opportunities as possible,

(In conclusion)

   It is a great pleasure for Japan that useful discussions were developed over the past two days. The Government of Japan sincerely hopes that these discussions will be further deepened in the plenary meeting today and that this conference will make significant achievements.

   Thank you very much for your attention.

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