Statement by H.E. Mr. Ichiro Aisawa,
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, JAPAN
the Bali Regional Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism
February 5, 2004
In opening, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to His Excellency Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, and His Excellency Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, for taking the initiative in hosting this meeting. Japan attaches its highest importance to this meeting as a means of strengthening the political will of the region towards counter-terrorism measures. Two Japanese nationals lost their lives in the terrorist bombing in Bali. Yesterday, I visited the Ground Zero and offered flowers for the victims. On behalf of the people and the Government of Japan, I would like to take this occasion to extend our condolences to all the victims who lost their lives in that horrendous terrorist attack, and their families.
(The Situation Surrounding Terrorism)
The threat of terrorism from terrorist networks remains present in the international community. In addition to the recent terrorist attacks in Jakarta, Saudi Arabia and Turkey last year, terrorist bombings are occurring in Iraq on an almost daily basis and the lives of two Japanese diplomats were claimed in an attack considered to be an act of terrorism. Japan unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and reasons.
As the speakers today have so far pointed out, in Southeast Asia, the Jemaah Islamiya (JI) maintains the capability to implement a large-scale act of terrorism in the future, and still poses a serious threat. Many of the leaders of JI have participated in training in Afghanistan and are thought to have links with Al-Qaeda. There is a danger that Al-Qaeda and JI will exploit the situation in Iraq to vitalize their activities to collect funds and recruit new terrorists, and it is therefore necessary to heighten the state of alert in this region with regard to terrorism.
(Priority Areas for Counter-Terrorism and Japan's Counter-Terrorism Assistance)
Japan and the countries of Southeast Asia enjoy a close political and economic relationship, and share a common strong concern about the terrorism situation in the region. As agreed in the Japan-ASEAN Plan of Action which was issued at the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting held in Tokyo in December last year, Japan has extended its utmost cooperation to the counter-terrorism efforts of the countries of Southeast Asia. Especially, the following measures are particularly important in fighting terrorism in the region.
Firstly, it is imperative to enhance the law-enforcement capability and further strengthen cooperation in investigations and information gathering. A certain degree of results have been achieved in the Southeast Asian region, including the arrest of terrorists, and Japan highly values these efforts being made by the governments in the region. At the same time, the many members of terrorist organizations remain at large and it is necessary to make further efforts to investigate the situation regarding terrorist organizations and apprehend their members. To this end, Japan believes that the enhancement of policing capacity will contribute to counter-terrorism in the long run. In Indonesia, Japan has implemented projects to support its police reform, and in the Philippines Japan has extended grant aid in the area of automatic identification system of a fingerprint. Japan will continue to cooperate with the police in the region.
Secondly, it is essential to prevent the free cross-border movement of terrorists and the means of terrorism. From this perspective, it is necessary to enhance immigration controls and maritime patrols. To this end, Japan has implemented seminars on immigration control and on document examination, and is preparing to provide seven airports including ones in Jakarta and Bali, and three ports including ones in Jakarta and Surabaya, with security equipment for screening persons and containers. Moreover, in order to enhance maritime security capabilities, Japan has extended technical cooperation including the dispatch of experts, the reception of coast guard officials in Japan Coast Guard Academy, and the implementation of seminars and training courses. In addition, Japan is considering further cooperation including the provision of hardware.
Thirdly, it is important to ensure that terrorists will be brought to justice, regardless of their whereabouts. From this perspective, Japan expects those countries that have not concluded the twelve treaties on counter-terrorism to make steps towards their early conclusion. I look forward to an initiative taken at the political level by the esteemed Ministers gathering here today. I would like to propose now that, as an outcome of this meeting, participating Ministers will demonstrate their strong commitment to the early conclusion and implementation of all of the twelve conventions and protocols on counter-terrorism. In this regard, Japan hosted a seminar in Tokyo last year to encourage accession to the international conventions and protocols on counter-terrorism and continue to provide expertise.
Together with the seminars hosted by Japan that I have already mentioned, Japan provides assistance in capacity building measures by annually receiving approximately 250 officials, and Japan will continue such efforts.
(Regional and International Cooperation to Combat Terrorism)
In order to prevent acts of terrorism by international terrorist organizations, it is important to promote regional and international cooperation in addition to bilateral cooperation. In the Asia-Pacific region, various measures to combat terrorism are being taken in an international framework, and Japan is making an active contribution to such efforts.
In the forum of APEC, counter-terrorism measures are being undertaken while making economic activities compatible with security. As was agreed at the 11th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting last year, a counter-terrorism fund has been established in the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to which Japan will extend active cooperation.
In addition, it is important to further develop the ARF as a framework for regional cooperation in political and security aspects. From this perspective, it will be important to further deal with counter-terrorism, and law enforcement cooperation in the ARF, utilizing the framework for counter-terrorism that was launched in August last year.
Furthermore, it is important to actively utilize the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) in Malaysia as a focal point for counter-terrorism activities in the region. When possible, Japan will implement assistance programs in cooperation with this Center, and in this way, we hope to make a contribution to further improving capacity to combat terrorism in Southeast Asia.
Let me take this opportunity to touch upon North Korea. The abduction of Japanese Citizens by North Korea is an extremely important security issue that affects the lives and safety of the Japanese people as well as the sovereignty of Japan. Japan will continue to call on North Korea to agree on the resumption of the inter-governmental talks on this issue as soon as possible. In order to resolve this issue, it is essential for Japan to have the understanding and clear support by the international community. I hope that the esteemed Ministers participating here have the understanding and support on this issue.
Finally, I believe that it is profoundly significant to reiterate our firm denouncement of any forms of terrorism, and our resolution of solidarity in the fight against terrorism here in Bali today. I would like to conclude my speech with the hope that these two days of discussions will prove fruitful and significant.
Thank you very much.
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