Statement by Minister Tetsuya Kimura
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
on items 107 and 108: Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice
and International Drug Control
Sixty-sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
5 October 2011
Transnational organized crimes and drug-related crimes severely damage the well-being of affected individuals. These crimes also pose a security threat, particularly to States struggling in conflict or post-conflict conditions. This is the reason why Japan puts a great importance on the efforts to combat transnational organized crimes and the world drug problem.
Despite the sustained efforts, the international community is facing obstacles in coping with these serious crimes. I would like to mention three of the traps which make it difficult to solve this issue.
The first trap is the weakening of the rule of law. Illicit proceeds from organized crimes and drug-related crimes tend to be used to fund armed conflicts or as bribes to corrupt officials, which harms the stability of States and law enforcement powers. As a result, the rule of law is undermined and the fight against crime gets harder and harder.
The second trap is the difficulty in achieving a sound economy. Lucrative proceeds from crimes attract and absorb capital which should be utilized to finance sound economic activities. Such diversion prevents sustainable development and worsens poverty, and poverty tends to generate crimes in turn.
Finally, we have to pay attention to the effect on human beings themselves. Organized crimes and drug-related crimes often target and exploit vulnerable individuals. While some people become victims of crimes, others are damaged by the abuse of drugs, or are even brought over to criminal syndicates due to a lack of livelihood. Such a situation is a grave threat to human security. Youths are one of the most vulnerable groups of individuals, and it is a concern if their ability to build a sound society and morals in the next generation is affected by their growing up in an environment accustomed to crime.
To cope with such complicated situations, the international community has to not only be tough with crime itself, but must also take multipronged measures such as fighting against corruption, and promoting sound economic development and human resources development. Also, since a single State cannot tackle these tasks alone, Japan believes that all States have a common and shared responsibility, and that cooperation in regional and international levels are thus indispensable.
(Actions at the International Level)
Regarding drug-related crime, the Meeting of the Ministers responsible for the fight against illicit drug trafficking was held in Paris on 10 May this year. Japan applauds the initiative of France, the chair of the G8, in organizing this meeting, which successfully resulted in the Political Declaration of the Ministers and the Action Plan. The Political Declaration emphasized common and shared responsibility among all of the countries affected by the different aspects―production, consumption or transit―of the world drug problem, and Japan fully supports it.
As for the legal framework, Japan continues to implement the three United Nations conventions regarding the control of drugs of 1961, 1971 and 1988. It is also sincerely considering the conclusion of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. Many provisions of these conventions have been already implemented through its domestic legislations.
Japan recognizes the important role of the UNODC in the field of international cooperation, and has continued to support its activities. Japan contributed 11.3 million dollars to the UNODC in the fiscal year 2010, and had the majority of this amount allocated to the programmes on Afghanistan and neighbouring countries to improve law enforcement and promote anti-corruption measures, on the understanding that drug control in this region is critical to its security and development.
I would like to further draw your attention to some of other efforts taken by Japan at the international level. It has supported Southeast Asian countries in fields such as the analysis of drugs, the training of personnel in charge of drug control, the supply of equipment and campaigns for enlightenment. Japan remains committed to providing capacity-building assistance, making the most of such experience.
Also, Japan has continuously made direct contributions to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In 2010, Japan assisted capacity-building for drug control in the Republic of Guinea through the ECOWAS.
Finally, Japan is jointly operating the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI) with the United Nations. This institute plans and operates various training programmes every year, and this year it invited practitioners in criminal justice and senior officials from developing countries to its programmes focusing on the treatment of drug offenders and community involvement in offender treatment.
(Actions at the Domestic Level)
Let me turn to some of our domestic actions to fulfill our common and shared responsibility. The Japanese Government adopted the “Comprehensive Measures to Eliminate Child Pornography” at the Ministerial Conference in July 2010. Based on the policy, for example, the police agency has enhanced its ability to crack down on child pornography through cyber-patrol and nationwide cooperation among investigators. In addition, Japan is committed to gathering and exchanging information concerning the cross-border abuse of children.
Japan is also tackling cyber crimes and amended the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure and other related laws in June this year to criminalize the creation of computer viruses and to improve investigative techniques, preparing for the conclusion of the Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe.
Japan is also taking measures to eliminate trafficking in persons and protect victims in accordance with its Action Plan adopted in 2009, and is combating drug-related crimes under the “zero tolerance policy.”
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that Japan is fully committed to taking all necessary actions to fight against crime at both international and domestic levels, in close cooperation with Member States, the UNODC and other international agencies, and relevant partners. Japan hopes that we can overcome the many obstacles and make progress towards a secure and safe world through the fulfillment of the common and shared responsibility of each actor.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.