Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy
Efforts toward the realization of a better global society
D. Transnational organized crime and drugs
Transnational organized crime has emerged in recent years as the dark side of the advance of globalization, becoming an increasingly severe problem for the international community and bringing a great urgency to the strengthening of international cooperation mechanisms and the development of international legal frameworks. The United Nations and the G8 play the main role in dealing with this issue in the international arena.
At the United Nations, negotiations are underway on a UN Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) Convention, a comprehensive document designed to prevent and crack down on transnational organized crime, and three protocols on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, the smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. A resolution adopted at the November 1998 session of the UN General Assembly included the adoption of the above Convention in the course of the year 2000.
The G8 Senior Experts Group on Transnational Organized Crime (the so-called Lyon Group), established at the 1995 Halifax Summit, has been discussing, along with judicial cooperation, measures to combat transnational organized crime, such as trafficking in persons, the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms and high-tech crime. Japan chairs its Subgroup on Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, and has also been actively engaged in joint work with the other G8 members in various crime areas. At the Cologne Summit in June, G8 members expressed their support for the results of the work of the Lyon Group, and affirmed that this work would go ahead toward producing an early conclusion to the negotiations for the UNTOC Convention. Further, the Meeting of Justice and Interior Ministers of the Eight on transnational organized crime was held in October in Moscow, with discussion focusing on high-tech crime and the financial aspects of transnational organized crime.
The United Nations, particularly the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), is dealing actively with drug issues, which are increasingly posing a severe problem worldwide. Following up on the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drug Abuse in 1990 and the UN General Assembly Special Meeting on Drugs in 1993, another UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem was held in June 1998 in reflection of the current situation of drug abuse, including the growing abuse among young people and the growing abuse of ATS. This Special Session, with the attendance of U.S. President Clinton, French President Jacques Chiraq and many other government leaders, including Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Koumura, appealed to the world to take measures against ATS abuse and drug abuse in youth and to promote international cooperation. The final day saw the adoption of a political declaration and six other documents stipulating a new international anti-drug strategy toward the 21st century.
Based on these international efforts against drugs, Japan has actively supported the activities of the UNDCP and has also contributed millions of dollars annually since UNDCP establishment in 1991, despite the strained domestic fiscal situation.
In Tokyo in February, Japan held the Asian Drug Law Enforcement Conference, Tokyo 1999, inviting the heads of drug enforcement agencies from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as the UNDCP Secretary-General, to discuss regional cooperation among national enforcement agencies and with the UNDCP on combating the drug problem. Aside from the UNDCP, Japan also supports the activities of international institutions involved in the fight against drugs-the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Drug Advisory Plan (DAP) within the Colombo Plan, and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-through donations and subscriptions.
In terms of bilateral assistance too, Japan is engaged in technical cooperation toward crackdowns on illicit drug traffic, as well as capital and technical cooperation for alternative development, such as the cultivation of alternative crops in place of drug crops, and awareness-raising activities. For example, Japan has been dispatching experts as well as providing other forms of cooperation to Myanmar to encourage the cultivation and dissemination of buckwheat as an alternative to opium poppy crops.
In addition, Japan is a member of the Dublin Group, a forum for consultations among developed countries on drug issues, and active information exchanges and consultations are also held among these countries at group meetings.
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