Statement by Ambassador in charge of International Cooperation for Countering Terrorism and International Organized Crime Mr. Tamotsu Shinotsuka at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Initiative

Mr. Secretary-General,
Mr. Executive Director,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed my great honour to speak at the third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Initiative which has contributed to the counter narcotic drug activities in Afghanistan since 2003. I would like to commend the Governments of France and the Russian Federation for their valuable efforts to promote this Initiative. I would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Austria for hosting this important conference in the historic Hofburg Palace.

The 2011Afghan Opium Survey released by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics of Afghanistan and by UNODC last October showed us that total opium poppy production has increased by 63 percent from that in 2010, and the number of poppy-free provinces has decreased. This survey reminds us that a more enhanced and integrated strategy, as well as strong political will, is necessary to tackle this problem.

Ladies and gentlemen,

When we contemplate the drug problem in Afghanistan as a whole, the cultivation of cannabis also needs to be tackled in an integrated manner. The country with the world’s largest opium production is also one of the major producers of cannabis. The 2010 Afghanistan Cannabis Survey revealed the fact that while cannabis is cheaper than the opium poppy both to cultivate and to harvest, farmers’ gross income from cannabis was higher than that of opium. It is essential to provide the farmers with alternative means to refrain from cultivating any kind of illicit drugs.

I would also like to draw your attention to some other aspects of the issue. Terrorist attacks, which have killed numerous innocent citizens, are fuelled by the proceeds of illicit drug trafficking. We all must redouble our efforts to eradicate terrorist groups, which compel the farmers to cultivate opium poppy or cannabis for their survival.

I also recall the UNODC Report on Corruption in Afghanistan, which portrayed the “baksheesh (bribes)”.  According to the survey, these bribes are not only the biggest impediment to improving security, development and governance, but function as one of the two largest income generators in the country.  It is critical to prevent corruption from leaving various forms of crime unobstructed.

When we think about the scheduled assumption by Afghan authorities of full responsibility for their own security in 2014, comprehensive assistance for building their capacity to address the root causes of poverty, the lack of law enforcement, and to establish order and good governance is of great importance and extreme urgency. Afghanistan should not be a safe haven for terrorists and organised crime groups who enjoy the proceeds from illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs.  In order to resolve the complicated problem interlinked with governance and law enforcement, multi-faceted and comprehensive efforts, including measures countering organised crime, are necessary.  These efforts may include strengthening customs and border control capacity to stop the flow of opium and precursor chemicals.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It goes without saying what important roles the UNODC and the partners of the Paris Pact Initiative are playing to reduce problems which continue to deprive Afghanistan of a chance for positive development.  Japan will spare no effort in working together with the international community to achieve peace and economic and social reconstruction for Afghanistan.

Japan has already committed itself to a contribution of up to 5 billion US dollars towards that goal. We have cooperated on UNODC projects such as the “Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries”, “Afghanistan Anti-corruption measures in support of drug control”, “Pakistan Civilian Police Reform Activities by the Pakistan Country Programme”, and  “Central Asia – Drug Demand Reduction and HIV/AIDS Prevention”. Now we are launching a training program, with UNODC and the Russian Federation, for Afghan police officers at the Domojedovo Training Centre, with financing and dispatching of Japanese counter narcotic experts. In addition, the Government of Japan and UNODC recently signed a $9 million grant agreement for capacity building in the criminal justice sector of Bamyan, Herat and Balk provinces, with a view to support the Government of Afghanistan’s effort to strengthen the rule of law.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to conclude my intervention by recalling the importance of international and regional cooperation among all stakeholders and by renewing, on behalf of the Government of Japan, our resolution to actively cooperate with voluntary countries and organisations who are tackling the issue of narcotic drugs.

I thank you very much for your attention.
The Practical Export Control Workshop was hosted by the Wassenaar Arrangement as part of its 20th Anniversary programs and held at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna on 27 and 28 June 2016. More than 100 government representatives from 46 countries participated in the technically focused Practical Workshop.
Workshop speakers included the 2016 WA Plenary Chair Ambassador Anu Laamanen (Finland), 2016 WA General Working Group Chair Ambassador Paul Beijer (Sweden), 2015-2016 WA Experts Group Chair Robertas Rosinas (Lithuania), 2016 WA Licensing and Enforcement Officers Meeting Chair Jon Erik Strömö (Norway), as well as the Head of the WA Secretariat, Ambassador Philip Griffiths. The WA control lists as well as export licensing and enforcement topics were covered during the two days.
The following link from WA’s webpage contains more details: