National Statement by Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano at 60th Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Madam Chair,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to you, Ambassador Angell-Hansen of Norway, for your election as Chair of the 60th anniversary Session of the Commission.
I would also like to express my gratitude to Ambassador Moitinho de Almeida of Portugal, facilitator of the Commission for his work on the follow-up to the UNGASS held in 2016.
I assure you of Japan’s support in contributing to the success of the 60th Commission.
(Overall Situation)
Madam Chair,
The world drug problem continues to be a serious threat to be tackled in a comprehensive and balanced manner in accordance with the Political Declaration and Plan of Action of 2009.
In this regard, we believe the UNGASS gave us a vital opportunity to accelerate the effective implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action towards 2019, which has been set as the target date.
Japan reaffirms its commitment to implementing the Political Declaration and Plan of Action as well as the UNGASS outcome document. We believe their implementation also contributes to the Goal set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In this context, I would like to briefly touch upon some of our efforts beginning with our demand reduction strategies.
(Demand Reduction)
Madam Chair,
Japan has given high priority to the prevention of drug abuse, especially in youth, by promoting a nationwide awareness-raising campaign at schools. Japan promotes effective intervention programs based on cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment and social rehabilitation of drug abusers. Through these measures coupled with strict law enforcement activities, the lifetime prevalence rates of cannabis and methamphetamine use are only 1.0% and 0.5% respectively.
We recognize demand reduction approaches should be based on human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this context, Japan introduced new legal measures last June, which ensures a rehabilitation period for incarcerated drug abusers, as an alternative to incarceration.
(Supply Reduction)
Madam Chair,
As for supply reduction, Japan attaches importance to countering the illicit trafficking of synthetic drugs, namely NPS and methamphetamine.
Japan has successfully contained the NPS problem by strengthening its domestic regulation and increasing regulated substances. Today we have over 2,300 NPS under our regulation. We would like to contribute to the international community by sharing our information and experiences.
Japan hosts the Asia-Pacific Operational Drug Enforcement Conference every year. The Conference facilitates an exchange of views and information on synthetic drugs, recently giving priority to the transnational trafficking of methamphetamine. The 22nd Conference was held in Tokyo just last month.
We have also implemented a project in cooperation with UNODC and the Russian Federation whereby the Afghanistan Police is provided with counter narcotics training. Last year, the project expanded its scope to five central Asian countries, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Since its commencement, 7 sessions have been completed and over 100 officers have been trained.
(Alternative Development)
Madam Chair,
Alternative Development is another priority of Japan. We need to further strengthen international collective efforts to address illicit cultivation of crops used for the production of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Japan has supported Afghanistan for nearly 10 years, recently placing its emphasis on Alternative Development. We have supported poor farmers and women in converting illicit production of opium poppy to a licit alternative, such as roses and saffron, which has resulted in the provision of alternative livelihoods to them.
Japan advocates “human security” which underlines the importance of human-centered, sustainable and long-term support. Our approach in Afghanistan exemplifies the concept of human security.
(Japan’s contribution)
Madam Chair,
Addressing the world drug problem is a common and shared responsibility of the international community. With such understanding, Japan actively supports international efforts in countering illicit drugs and related transnational organized crimes.
I am happy to announce that the Government of Japan has recently pledged its largest contribution to date, around 23 million USD, to UNODC. This contribution will be used for projects in Afghanistan and Neighboring countries as well as in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. We had a kickoff meeting with UNODC last week and each project will start this April.
Madam Chair,
In closing, I would like to reiterate Japan’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action as well as the UNGASS outcome document. In this regard, we highly appreciate the role of the Commission as the leading entity in the UN system for countering the world drug problem. These documents are closely related to each other, therefore we believe the Commission needs to accelerate their implementation in an efficient and effective manner.
Japan would like to contribute to these valuable activities by constructively participating in the discussion in the Commission.
Thank you very much.   (end)