Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy
Efforts toward the realization of a better global society
In August 1999, four Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) experts engaged in a resource development study in Kyrgyz were abducted by armed forces, but safely released 64 days later. Moscow and other major Russian cities experienced a string of bombing incidents from August through September, causing more than 300 deaths. Numerous casualties also emerged from terrorist incidents around the world, including in Colombia, Algeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Armenia.
Japanese citizens were caught up in the seizure of the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok and the hijacking of an Egypt Air airplane en route from Istanbul to Cairo in October, as well as a bombing incident in Colombo, Sri Lanka and the hijacking of an Indian Air airplane en route from Katmandu to Delhi in December.
Amid continued outbreaks of such grave terrorist incidents, the international community displayed serious commitment to international cooperation in combating terrorism. The G8 continues to work to implement the 25 practical measures to combat terrorism which were adopted at the Ministerial Conference on Terrorism in Paris in July 1996, as well as the six additional measures adopted at the Denver Summit in June 1997, and is urging the entire international community to implement these. At the Cologne Summit in June too, leaders called for promotion of negotiations on the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
In December, the UN General Assembly adopted the above Convention, which obligates parties to the Convention to punish financing for terrorist activities. The General Assembly also adopted UN resolution 54/110 on measures to eliminate international terrorism.
Motivated by the December 1996 seizure of the Japanese Ambassador's Residence in Peru, Japan has reviewed its responses to international terrorism and worked to strengthen its crisis management, information-gathering and security systems. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sought to strengthen the provision of information to Japanese citizens on world danger spots through, for example, issuance of a publication entitled "Travel Advice and Warning." Further, in the wake of the abduction of Japanese citizens in Kyrgyz in August, efforts have also been made to prevent the recurrence of such transnational terrorist incidents by strengthening Japan's information-gathering and provision capacities in countries in which Japan has no diplomatic mission, as well as establishing emergency communications equipment.
It has been repeatedly emphasized at the annual G8 Summits and on other occasions that the international community must firmly condemn and combat all forms of terrorism, make no concessions to terrorists, and set in place the necessary legal infrastructure through, for example, the conclusion of the counterterrorism conventions, to ensure that the rule of law is applied to terrorists, and Japan has been actively advancing cooperation with other countries in line with these principles. Japan has concluded 10 of the 12 counterterrorism conventions which have been adopted to date, and is working with other G8 countries to urge early conclusion by other countries as well.
Further, as part of its regional cooperation, Japan hosted the Japan-ASEAN Counterterrorism Conference in October 1997, and then the Asia-Latin America Counterterrorism Conference in October 1998, followed by the Asia-Middle East Counterterrorism Conference in December 1999. At the conference, participants exchanged information on the terrorism situation and counterterrorism measures, and also expressed unanimous awareness of the importance of greater international cooperation in suppressing terrorism.
Five members of the Japanese Red Army against whom international procedures had been applied were taken into custody in Lebanon in February 1997, and were sentenced to three years' imprisonment, after which they were to be deported. (Japan requested that the Lebanese authorities extradite these five persons as soon as possible after the legal procedures in Lebanon were completed, and in March 2000, four members, with the exception of Kozo Okamoto, who was granted political exile in Lebanon, were deported and subsequently arrested and imprisoned in Japan. As at the end of March 2000, this left still at large eight Japanese Red Army members for whom international procedures have been applied, as well as five suspected of involvement in the hijacking of Flight Yodo.)
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