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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Collaboration key to curbing global crime: G8

Staff writer

Multilateral collaboration and a crackdown on identification abuse are crucial to reducing transnational crimes and terrorist activities, justice and home affairs ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations declared Friday.

News photo
Meet the press: Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama (center) faces reporters Friday in Tokyo with his other Group of Eight counterparts after the conclusion of their two-day conference. KYODO PHOTO

"It is necessary to continue to support and strengthen our concerted counterterrorism efforts, to share the knowledge and experience that the G8 states possess," the ministers said in a statement after their two-day meeting in Tokyo.

Pointing out the potential for even people unaffiliated with terrorist organizations to become "radicalized" and commit acts of terrorism, the summary also addressed the need to enhance "community policing efforts" to detect such individuals at an early stage.

Shinya Izumi, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, told reporters the G8 members agreed to enhance partnership in fighting cross-border crimes.

"We don't face them alone and we won't defeat them alone. We will have to work together" to curb transnational crimes, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey said.

The G8 ministers called unlawful conduct involving the abuse of people's identification data a "new challenge to criminal justice and law enforcement," since it allows criminals to "destroy evidence, avoid punishment and conceal proceeds."

In addition to fraud and forgery, fake identification is believed to be used in organized crime and terrorist activity, the statement said, suggesting the sharing of investigative data and use of biometric scanning at airports may be effective in countering the crime.

Izumi meanwhile said the G8 ministers "showed understanding regarding Japan's assertion" about North Korea's abductions of Japanese citizens, noting that they agreed to identify abductions as acts of international terrorism in the concluding statement.

Delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Britain, EU, the United States and the International Criminal Police Organization attended the meeting, one of several held as a prelude to next month's G8 summit Japan will host in Toyako, Hokkaido.

In addition to the concluding declaration, the members released the "G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Declaration on Capacity Building Assistance" to stress the need to establish investigative infrastructure on a global scale.

Providing capacity-building assistance to developing countries to create justice systems and counterterrorism institutions is "one of the most important areas for international cooperation," the statement pointed out, because terrorists are likely to take advantage of weaker states as "loopholes."

To maximize the effect of capacity-building and to promote security for all nations involved, the sovereignty of the recipient country must be respected and the assistance must consider both medium and long-term perspectives to achieve enduring outcomes, the statement said.

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The Japan Times

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