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Friday, June 13, 2008

Rising trend in global crime worries G8

Staff writer

Justice and home affairs ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations began a two-day meeting Thursday in Tokyo on measures to halt a rising trend in global organized crime.

"The current situation we face concerning international terrorism and transnational organized crime is extremely serious," Shinya Izumi, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, said during his opening statement.

Izumi stressed that acts of violence and crimes have been perpetrated on a global scale since the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001, and that comprehensive measures are required to curb them.

"It is important to engage in specific calls to countries that require development of basic legal systems and building of law enforcement capacity" to avoid loopholes for crimes in the international community, he said.

Japan, which is hosting the event, has been joined by delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Britain, the United States, the European Union and Interpol at the meeting.

Representatives from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime also made a presentation Thursday regarding trends in international drug-trafficking.

According to the National Police Agency, Izumi was offered condolences from the British delegate regarding Sunday's random killing spree in Akihabara, Tokyo, in which seven people were killed 10 others wounded.

In other bilateral meetings, Izumi urged participating nations to provide information on radical antiglobalization groups to help ensure the success of July's G8 summit in Toyako, Hokkaido.

Acknowledging that activities by al-Qaida cells have become borderless, Thursday's ministerial meeting discussed protection of key social infrastructure, including the Internet and energy plants, from terrorist attacks.

Participating nations illustrated cases of terrorism in their countries and pledged to unite in sharing data to prevent similar terrorist campaigns.

The countries also discussed the advantages of extending biometric scanning in international airports as a measure to restrict terrorist acts from crossing borders.

The delegates agreed that drug-trafficking has become a crucial source of finance for such terrorist groups and organizations, and that an international framework is required to crack down on the system.

During the session on international terrorism, Izumi asked participating nations to support Japan's demands that North Korea extradite suspects involved in the abduction of Japanese.

Calling the abductions "an infringement on Japan's sovereignty," the minister told the conference Japan wants the G8's support on this issue. The delegates responded positively, a Justice Ministry official said.

Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama also touched on the abductions, saying North Korea still poses a threat to the security of the Japanese people and the culprits must be handed over for investigation.

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey meanwhile prodded Hatoyama to swiftly ratify the U.N Convention against Transnational Organized Crime during a bilateral meeting Thursday. The two also discussed the need to further curb child pornography, a Justice Ministry official said.

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The Japan Times

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