(Provisional Translation)

Seminar on the Promotion of Accession to the International Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols
(22-23 January 2008, Tokyo)

Opening Statement by Mr. Osamu UNO,
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan



Distinguished participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I extend my warmest welcome to you who have come all the way to Japan to participate in the current seminar.

This seminar on promoting accession to the international Counter-terrorism Conventions and Protocols has been organized since 2003 to share experiences and expertise among participating states. This is the fifth seminar, and I am sincerely grateful for your continual participation.

Our challenge against terrorism cannot be succeeded by the efforts of one country alone. All the countries in the world are asked to tackle with terrorism problem in unison. The UN Global Counter-terrorism Strategy which was adopted at the General Assembly in 2006 has listed various measures for implementation. The international society must take such measures tenaciously and steadily to counter and prevent terrorism.

The international community has accomplished many outcomes in the counter terrorism efforts. However, the threat of terrorism still remains very serious. As you can recall last December, there were bombings in Algeria, which killed many including UN staff, while in Pakistan, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto fell victim to a terrorist attack.

Japan has been continuously contributing to international efforts to prevent and eradicate international terrorism. As one of our counter-terrorism measures, we had conducted refueling activities by our Maritime Self Defense Force vessels to support the interdiction activities in the Indian Ocean. Although the activities had to be suspended temporarily, we recently enacted a new special measures law in the Diet to resume the same activities. Our government is going to dispatch the MSDF vessels to the Indian Ocean on the 24th and 25th of this month.

As a pillar in preventing terrorism, it is essential to strengthen counter-terrorism capacity of each and every country under international law in various areas. To undertake these measures, it is important that all countries conclude the international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols in order to be able to prosecute terrorists in any country.

Last summer, following the other twelve conventions, Japan concluded the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Thus, Japan became party to all the 13 conventions and protocols. Under our experience, we have hosted this seminar since 2003 to deepen knowledge on the legal frameworks of counter-terrorism and to remove technical difficulties in concluding conventions among participating countries.

The seminar in January 2006 was the first one after all the 13th conventions were adopted by relevant international forum. At that time, the number of ratified conventions was 85 among the 13 participants. Today, the total number of ratified conventions of the participants here is 101. From this number, I am convinced that this seminar has well contributed to the accession to these international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols by participating countries, and I strongly hope that this year's seminar will also be helpful to all of you as well.

Once again, I would like to extend my warmest welcome on your visit to Japan and to this seminar's participation. I am also truly grateful for the cooperation of and participation by the UNODC, UNAFEI, Australia and the United States who have continued to cooperate in this seminar since its inception. Finally, I sincerely wish this seminar will be fruitful for all participants and will contribute to promoting the ratification process in each country.

Thank you very much.

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