Seminar on the Promotion of Accession to the International Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols
(25-27 January 2006, Tokyo)
Kiyohiko TOYAMA, Ph.D,
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished participants, my name is Kiyohiko Toyama, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Japanese Government. First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I warmly welcome you to Japan. I am delighted that we can host this seminar on the 12 international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, its purpose being to share Japan's experience and findings in the process of ratification with you all. This year's seminar is an extension of the seminar we held last year, that is, Seminar on the Promotion of Accession to the International Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols. Japan aspires to play a role of coordinator in promoting 'criminalization' of terrorist acts by ratifying relevant international conventions and protocols in the follow-up process to the Bali Regional Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism held in February 2004, and this year's seminar is held, like last year's, as a part of such contributions on the part of Japan. I deeply appreciate the participation of high-level delegates from respective government who understands the significance of these seminars.
In the period following 9.11 attacks on the United States of America in 2001, a lot of progress has been made as international society strengthened mutual cooperation in combating terrorism. However, the world is not free from terrorist incidents yet. In Southeast Asia region, for example, a series of terrorist bombing in Bali last October and simultaneous bombing by terrorists in Manila in last February have proved that the threat of international terrorism is still very serious. Japan believes that, in order to protect state and people from such terror, it is necessary to enhance counter-terrorism capacity building based on international standards. It is in this context that we place utmost importance upon ratification of counter-terrorism conventions and protocols with introduction of necessary measures ensuring domestic implementation.
Ratifying counter-terrorism conventions and protocols is a vital measure for any government to ensure that anyone in anyplace who committed crimes stipulated in those conventions be either extradited or prosecuted. Needless say, this should happen sooner than later, so that we can prevent terrorists from evading our security network.
Compare to other regions, we must admit, Asia-Pacific region has been rather slow in the ratification process. We do not want to send a wrong message to terrorists, that is, Asia-Pacific region is less developed in counter-terrorism measures. Our region should not be seen by terrorists as a 'loophole' in the global network of counter-terrorism.
I have already mentioned about the importance of criminalization of terrorist acts. If I elaborate on this further, criminalization here exactly means the ratification of relevant conventions and protocols, and their quick implementation through corresponding domestic legal measures. If all governments in our region criminalize terrorist acts in accordance with those 12 conventions and protocols, the condition of dual criminality would be met and therefore extradition of perpetrators and legal cooperation between the governments on terrorism would become much easier.
In order to speed up the process of ratification strengthening 'political will' to do it is obviously crucial. On this point, I would like to draw your attention to that fact that the ratification of all 12 conventions and protocols was agreed to be an urgent agenda between Prime Minister Koizumi and the top leaders of ASEAN nations in November 2004. Those leaders also agreed, last November, to launch Japan-ASEAN counter-terrorism dialogue with a purpose of strengthening cooperation on combating terrorism.
Apart from the ratification issue, Japan has also utilized ODA programs in enhancing its support for counter-terrorism capacity building in developing countries in areas as following:
(1) Police and law-enforcement
(2) Port and maritime security
(3) Aviation security
(5) Combating financing of terrorism
(6) Combating CBRN (Chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear) terrorism
(8) Export control
Japan has provided expert training, dispatched experts, or granted necessary equipment and facilities in these areas. In addition, to inform you, the Japanese government has decided to established a new scheme, that is, Grant Aid for Cooperation on Counter-Terrorism and Security in the next year's budget. We will also continue our financial support for technical assistance program of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes.
Finally, I should like to take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude for cooperation of and participation from United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, and Ministry of Justice of Australia. I conclude this opening statement by sincerely wishing this seminar be fruitful for all participants and make a great contribution to the promotion of the ratification process in each government you are representing.
Thank you very much for your attention.
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