Mr. Makoto Hashizume
Delegation of Japan
on Agenda Item 106: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
and Agenda Item 107: International Drug Control
Sixtieth Session of the General Assembly
7 October 2005
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,
Crime in general and drug trafficking in particular have become increasingly global, complex and well-organized activities. To address this phenomenon, close international cooperation is indispensable. Therefore, first of all, we would like to raise the issue of management of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Japan strongly supports the work of the UNODC, which plays a pivotal role in this field. However, we believe it is impossible for UNODC to implement its mandate thoroughly unless donor confidence improves. To this end, we believe it must create an accountable and transparent management system, including a strategic organizational plan with a clearly articulated program of work, as well as a concise and comprehensive annual financial/activity report.
Japan welcomes the scheduled entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 14 December 2005, which will complement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, all of which are already in effect. Having signed all of these instruments, Japan is now in the process of preparing for their early conclusion.
We also think highly of the work done by the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held this past April and of the Bangkok Declaration adopted at its conclusion. At the Congress, the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI), a United Nations regional institute established in Tokyo, conducted a workshop on measures to combat economic crime, including money-laundering, in cooperation with the Swedish Government, and it was a great success. Over time, UNAFEI has held a variety of international training courses and seminars. For example, this month it will conduct two courses, on "the juvenile delinquent treatment system for Kenyan criminal justice officials" and "corruption control in criminal justice." Japan believes UNAFEI is making an important contribution to the sound development of criminal justice systems and to mutual cooperation in this field. Our delegation would like to reiterate the firm intention of the Government of Japan to continue to support UNAFEI and its activities.
Trafficking in persons is a grave violation of human rights and dignity. Last December, Japan adopted the Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which rests on three important pillars. The first is the prevention of trafficking in persons, for example, by strengthening immigration controls and ensuring the authenticity of travel-related documents. In this regard, the criteria for landing permits for people with "entertainer" visa status were reviewed and the revised criteria began to be enforced in mid-March, making it possible to prevent such status from being abused by those trafficking in persons. The second pillar is the eradication of trafficking in persons by implementing a thorough crackdown. To that end, the Penal Code has been revised to definitely criminalize the act of buying and selling of persons. And the last pillar is the protection of victims of trafficking in persons, which our government has been making efforts to provide at both official and private shelters.
To combat trafficking in persons, international cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination is also essential. Japanese delegations have visited a total of eight countries since last year to discuss effective ways of preventing trafficking in persons as well as to share information with governments, international organizations, NGOs and religious groups.
Drug abuse damages not only the mind and body of the user. Because the proceeds from the production and trafficking of illicit drugs provide enormous financial resources for transnational organized crime and international terrorism, it threatens the security of an entire society. To tackle these issues, Japan has consistently supported the programs and activities of UNODC, especially through annual contributions to the Fund of the United Nations International Drugs Control Programme (UNDCP).
In recent years, Japan has been troubled by a rapid increase in the abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as methamphetamine and MDMA, and it has accordingly been steadfast in adhering to a zero tolerance policy, which means using illicit drugs is strictly prohibited by law and any drug abuse whatsoever, including first-time illicit drug use, is severely punished. A decrease in the number of heroin addicts in Japan shows this policy has been effective as a primary preventative tool. In this connection, Japan is concerned about a "harm reduction" approach, as we strongly believe international community must target drug demand reduction, maintaining an uncompromising attitude towards drug abuse.
We must take prompt measures to combat synthetic drugs, which can be produced anywhere with simple equipment, unlike other traditional drugs such as opium and cocaine that require land and suitable weather for cultivation. Of great concern is the emergence in recent years around the world of a number of drugs and precursors that are not controlled under the international conventions and the threat they pose to public health. We believe it is important to gather and share information on such drugs and precursors in order to develop and carry out prompt, effective countermeasures in an internationally coordinated manner before those substances become more widely available and abuse spreads. Japan submitted a resolution to that effect to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs this year, and it was adopted by consensus.
Finally, we would like to propose the overarching concept of "human security" as the basis for approaching such global issues as crime and drugs. Japan has been vigorously pursuing the concept of human security as one of the key perspective of Japan's foreign policy. Human security is a concept of protecting and empowering people vis-à-vis critical and pervasive threats and situations so that they can live in dignity. Pursuing the concept of human security, Japan will continue to make every effort to combat international crime and the drug problem together with other members of the international community. Japan is looking forward to further discussing the concept of human security in the General Assembly with a view to mainstreaming it within the United Nations system.
Thank you very much.