Outcomes of Discussions at the

It is with great pleasure that I address you all today, at the opening of the 2008 G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting.

This is the first time for Japan to host this particular meeting and I offer a heartfelt welcome to my honorable colleagues, the justice and home affairs ministers of the G8 countries, the esteemed representatives of the European Union (EU) Commission and the EU Presidency, and the Secretary General of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the members of their delegations. I also offer my appreciation to you all for making the long journey to Tokyo to attend this meeting.

As you are all aware, the first G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting was held in the United States in 1997. Since 2001 it has become an annual meeting, and this year marks the tenth occasion for G8 justice and home affairs ministers to meet. It is a great honor for Japan to host this milestone meeting and I feel the weight of responsibility as presidency of the G8.

The current situation we face concerning international terrorism and transnational organized crime is extremely serious. Since the series of simultaneous terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, which claimed the lives of countless innocent citizens, we have seen no end to acts of terrorism. Furthermore, transnational organized crime is being perpetrated on a global scale due to expanding economic and social activities, and the development and spread of information and communication technologies, such as the Internet.

In order to implement efforts that will improve effectiveness against the epidemic of international terrorism and transnational organized crime that now transcend national borders, through cooperation and collaboration among G8 countries it is necessary to share a common recognition on the current situation and announce timely countermeasures. In particular, from the perspective of avoiding loopholes, it is important to engage in specific calls to countries that require development of basic legal systems and building of law enforcement capacity.

Based on this recognition, Japan, as presidency of the G8 this year, is well aware of the excellent opportunity we are provided with over the next two days to work towards strengthening the foundation for cracking down on international terrorism and transnational organized crime, as well as promoting cooperation and collaboration among the countries of the world, led by the G8. The people who lead the international community in measures for law and order are gathered here today, and it is my hope that as we engage in frank and constructive discussions, the results of this meeting will create positive outcomes for law and order measures in every country.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan has also indicated his expectation that as preparation for discussions at the G8 Hokkaido-Toyako Summit this meeting will provide an important step in demonstrating the G8’s lead in dealing with challenges including international terrorism.

At this meeting, as an aid to our discussions, we plan to receive presentations in the relevant sessions from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI). I would like to express my appreciation to the representatives of these organizations at the outset. In addition, I would also like to express my respect for the efforts made by the experts of the G8 countries in their preparations for this meeting, including in such forums as the G8 Roma/Lyon Group.

The conference schedule is incredibly tight, reflecting the gravity and complexity of the agenda items we have to cover, and I express my wish here that I will have the benefit of your cooperation to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.

Finally, I should mention that this time of year in Japan is one characterized by humid and rainy, overcast days. We Japanese have come to accept this season as a part of our lives, and as a sign that the seasons are changing.

In the midst of a busy agenda we have prepared a number of program items designed to give you a feel for our country. I very much hope that during the course of the meeting you are able to experience for yourselves the nature, tradition and culture of Japan. With that sentiment I would like to conclude my remarks. Thank you for your attention.

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