Statement by Yutaka Iimura,
Special Envoy of the Government of Japan
at the Meeting of the Ministers responsible
for the fight against illicit drug trafficking

May 10, 2011


His Excellency Mr. Gueant,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please let me begin my intervention by expressing our appreciation and support for the initiative of the French Presidency in the fight against illicit drug trafficking. It is timely to have a meeting at the ministerial level where we can discuss both the supply and demand sides and together tackle this difficult but crucially important issue.

The world has witnessed very serious and global drug problems, such as the illicit flow of opium from Afghanistan, the diffusion of cannabis containing high-level cannabinoids, the increase of transit in Africa, and the abuse and manufacture of synthetic drugs. We must urgently fight against these issues as illicit drugs pose a serious threat to the States, and to socially and economically vulnerable regions and people.

Mr. President, it is critically important for the international society to have comprehensive, harmonized and cooperative approaches, in which each country would take appropriate actions in accordance with its domestic situation, irrespective of whether the context calls for action in production, transit or consumption. Drug-supplying countries should promote supply-reduction policies, focusing on the root cause of social and economic factors including poverty, while consuming countries must strengthen their demand-reduction policy including through public awareness campaigns. Japan strongly supports the concept of our "shared responsibility" pointed out in the draft Political Declaration.

Connection with other criminal and terrorist organizations, which are becoming more active and more widespread, is another aspect to focus on in tackling drug trafficking. Cooperation in prevention of money-laundering as well as confiscation of criminal proceeds from illicit drugs are among the key actions in this area.

The eradication of illicit drugs is an issue not only of regional and national peace and security, but is also an issue of human security and dignity at the social and individual level. Recovery and social reintegration of drug addicts is an indispensable part of our effort, through which we can protect individuals and build their ability to fight against drugs.

At this juncture, we highly commend progress made by the States and International Organizations following the Political Declaration and the Plan of Action by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2009. We should continue to reinforce our efforts to tackle the problem with united action, and to do this it is essential to involve all stakeholders including civil society and private sectors.

Both the international and domestic policies of Japan to fight against illicit drugs are carried out bearing these principles in mind. In Afghanistan, the comprehensive drug policy is one of the key areas for its stability and development as well as for human security. We have pledged approximately 8 million US dollars so far for the project Counter Narcotics Projects, Border Control and Capacity Building for Criminal Justice. We are now planning a joint project with the UNODC and Russia to train Afghan police officers.

In western Africa, the Government of Japan has extended its assistance to ECOWAS for strengthening the operational capacity to coordinate and implement its Regional Action Plan and the Political Declaration of December 2008 on the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crimes in West Africa.

Mr. President, with regard to the drug situation in Japan, we have been troubled by the illicit flow of ATS, Amphetamine Type Stimulant, from overseas and its large-scale domestic consumption. Competent authorities are taking necessary and possible measures, from public awareness campaigns to prevention at border control points, and by holding consultations regularly with each other to exchange information and coordinate to enable them to implement their policies in an effective and efficient manner.

At the same time, we have promoted international cooperation especially with Southeast Asian countries, where most of the illicit drugs shipped to Japan have been produced. This cooperation includes capacity building, public awareness, forensic analysis equipment for their laboratories, and various seminars and training courses for criminal justice practitioners at the UNAFEI, the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. We also have collaborated with the UNODC in its SMART (Global Synthetics Monitoring: Analysis, Reporting and Trends) project in this region.

Although these projects so far have achieved substantial success, a recent trend shows such "local" approaches are not necessarily complete. ATS can be easily generated in small-scale facilities, which are difficult to detect and which have diversified both regionally and by specialization. Such clandestine "kitchen laboratories" are spreading worldwide. Last year we actually observed a sharp increase in confiscated stimulants that were embarked in western Africa, and it seems to have made up for the decrease in the amount confiscated from Asian countries. This fact indicates that more global approaches are further required.

Mr. President, distinguished representatives, it is indeed fruitful to discuss a topic as concrete as transatlantic cocaine trafficking to produce a series of concrete actions to be included in the draft Plan of Action, which seems to be applicable and helpful to all regions and to all types of drugs. We hope that all countries engaged in the fight against drugs will take this opportunity to renew their commitment and to further enhance international efforts for combating illicit drugs.

Thank you for your attention.

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