Seminar on the Promotion of Accession to the International Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols
(27-28 March 2007, Tokyo)

Opening Statement

Mr. Masayoshi Hamada,
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Japan

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the government of Japan, I extend my warm welcome to you all.

Since 2003, Japan has organized the seminar on promoting accession to the international Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols to share experiences and expertise among participating states. I am sincerely grateful for your participation.

Looking at the situation of terrorism in the world, significant progress has been made as the international community has strengthened their efforts to fight against terrorism. However, we've seen a series of terrorist bombings including the one in Mumbai, last July, an alleged plot to blow up airplanes in UK last August, and simultaneous terrorist bombings in Bangkok last December. Also, there is concern over an increasing number of home grown terrorists. These circumstances prove that the threat of international terrorism still remains very serious. This is the same also in South East Asia, and the threat of terrorism persistently exists, although the activities of terrorist groups have been weakened thanks to the efforts by each government. Japan believes that, to protect people and states from such terror, we need to enhance counter-terrorism measures and capability based on international standards.

Therefore, we place utmost importance upon ratification of counter-terrorism conventions and protocols with introduction of necessary measures ensuring their domestic implementation.

If all governments in the Asia-Pacific region criminalize terrorist acts in accordance with those counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, extradition of perpetrators and legal cooperation between governments on terrorism would become much easier. Thus, the framework for the suppression of terrorism would become most effective.

This year, based on the outcome of previous seminars, we would like, firstly, to overview the recent efforts by each country to conclude the 12 Conventions and protocols.

Secondly, we would like to deepen our understanding on newly adopted Conventions such as the "Nuclear Terrorism Convention" and "Protocol to the SUA Convention. Regarding the "Nuclear Terrorism Convention", Japan signed the Convention on the occasion of the UN Summit in September 2005, and we are currently in the process of arranging necessary domestic measures to ratify the convention.

Thirdly, we are also very much encouraged by the development in ASEAN, that is, the ASEAN Convention on counter-terrorism adopted this January. Japan welcomes and highly values the efforts of ASEAN countries towards promoting a legal framework to combat terrorism. We hope that this seminar serves as a good opportunity to explore the possibility of future cooperation among us.

In speeding up the ratification process, it is of a crucial importance to strengthen 'political will' and to conduct capacity building in human resources necessary to implementing conventions.

Japan strongly hopes that this seminar can contribute in removing the technical difficulties in concluding conventions among participating countries.

Apart from the ratification issue, Japan has also used ODA programs to enhance its capacity building assistance for countering terrorism to the countries in need in the areas such as law-enforcement, port security, aviation security, immigration, customs and CBRN terrorism. Japan has provided expert training or granted necessary equipment and facilities in these areas.

This fiscal year, Japan decided to even further strengthen its assistance and established the new schemes of "Grant Aid for Cooperation on Counter-Terrorism and Security Enhancement" and "ASEAN-Japan Integration Fund (JAIF)". For instance, Japan decided to provide a grant of Patrol Vessels to Indonesia in June 2006, and the Improvement of Security Facilities and Equipment to Cambodia in August 2006.

ASEAN-Japan counter-terrorism dialogue was also launched to explore cooperation on counter terrorism measures, utilizing those funds. We will also continue our financial support for the technical assistance program conducted by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).

Finally, I express our sincere gratitude for the cooperation of and participation by UNODC, UNAFEI (the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders), Australia and the United States. To conclude this opening statement, I sincerely wish this seminar will be fruitful for all participants and will contribute to promoting the ratification process in each government you are representing.

Thank you very much.

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