Statement by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Permanent Representative of Japan Mr. Yukio Satoh At the 56th United Nations General Assembly

Tuesday, 2 October, 2001

Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates,

At the outset, I would like to take this opportunity to once again express, on behalf of the Government and the people of Japan, our deepest sorrow for those victimized by the heinous terrorist attacks on September 11th, who have left behind homes and families in many parts of the United States as well as in many other countries. The bereaved families, as well as the Government and all the people of the United States of America, have our profound sympathy at this time of sadness.

We stand by them with a strong determination to fight terrorism. As Japan's Prime Minister, Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, has repeatedly stated, the Government of Japan considers that these terrorist acts must be seen not solely as assaults against the United States, but also as crimes against humanity and a challenge to democracy and freedom all over the world, and that combating terrorism is also Japan's own responsibility. With this recognition, Japan will make every possible effort, in cooperation with the international community, to bring to justice those responsible for these terrorist attacks.

Mr. President,
All Member States of the United Nations must remain in strong solidarity and join together to combat all forms of terrorism in accordance with General Assembly resolution 56/1 and Security Council resolutions 1368 and indeed 1373. In this context, it cannot be overemphasized that it is terrorists whom we must confront, not Muslims, or Islamic or Arab countries.

It is indeed a matter of grave concern that, despite the anti-terrorism efforts to date of the international community, vicious terrorist acts have increased in recent years. Today there is virtually no country that is not faced with the threat of terrorism. It is therefore imperative that the international community act as one in order to eliminate all forms of terrorism.

Mr. President,
While our measures to combat terrorism must extend over a broad variety of areas, it is the solemn responsibility of the United Nations General Assembly to create a more effective international legal framework in order to bring to justice not only the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of terrorism, but also those who aid, support or harbor terrorists. It is therefore particularly important that we pursue, as our immediate tasks, the following two goals.

The first is the ratification and faithful observation by all Member States of all twelve international anti-terrorism conventions. In this regard, we welcome the entry into force of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, or Bombing Convention, on 23 May this year.

The Government of Japan, for its part, has already ratified ten of the twelve conventions, and is now preparing for the early ratification of the remaining two conventions: namely the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, or Financing Convention, and the Bombing Convention. With regard to the Financing Convention, the Japanese Government intends to sign it by the end of this year, that is, the period in which the Convention remains open for signature, and then ratify it as soon as possible. With regard to the Bombing Convention, the Government is now expediting the preparations for its early ratification.

The second goal is the prompt adoption of the two draft conventions before us, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Needless to say, it is essential to create an effective legal framework to cover issues which are not yet addressed by existing conventions. But it is equally important for Member States to demonstrate their determination to fight against terrorism by promptly adopting these conventions. To this end, it is important that each of us, in a spirit of cooperation, summon the necessary wisdom and demonstrate maximum flexibility. The Government of Japan, for its part, remains strongly supportive of the initiatives taken by Russia and India to formulate new conventions, and will participate in the Sixth Committee discussions with a view to completing the conventions as quickly as possible.

Mr. President,
In addition to the establishment of legal frameworks for combating terrorism, it is imperative to promote international cooperation and policy coordination against terrorism at various levels, within the framework of regional cooperation as well as among like-minded countries. Japan has been addressing the issue with its G7 and, later, G8 partners in order to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation among them and in the world. At the regional level, the Government of Japan has been engaged in anti-terrorism consultations with countries in the Asian-Pacific region, Latin America and the Middle East.

Building upon these experiences and based on the recognition of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi which I referred to at the outset, the Government of Japan is determined to engage itself even more actively in international cooperation, both within and outside the United Nations, to eliminate international terrorism.

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