Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 07:45 GMT

2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Japan

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 5 August 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Japan, 5 August 2010, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Japan bolstered border security and enhanced national counterterrorism measures in coordination with the United States. Japanese immigration officials continued to strengthen their capability to identify suspicious travelers upon entry into Japan's international airports through fingerprinting and facial image technology. Since the introduction of the Biometric Immigration Control System in November 2007 until October 31, 2009, officials denied entry to 1,465 foreign nationals who attempted to enter Japan using forged or altered passports or re-enter after being previously deported from Japan. Japan's Immigration Bureau, National Police Agency (NPA), and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Tourism, and Travel coordinated with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on preventing terrorists and other high-risk travelers from boarding commercial aircraft bound for the United States. Japanese officials see the program as a valuable tool to secure travel between Japan and the United States and as an effective way to share information and prevent suspected terrorists and improperly documented air passengers from boarding U.S.-bound flights. During December 2009, DHS and the Japan Immigration Bureau agreed to begin negotiations on an Immigration Mutual Assistance Agreement that would facilitate immigration cooperation between Japan and the United States.

Japan also took steps to strengthen port and shipping security. Under DHS' Container Security Initiative, Japanese authorities worked with U.S. officials to review ship manifests and to screen suspicious containers bound for the United States. In March, Japan installed radiation portal monitors and began screening containers for the presence of radiological material under the pilot Megaports Initiative Program. In June, Japan and the United States signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement in Brussels, aligning security standards in both countries' trade partnership programs. Japan also continued collaboration with the United States on science and technology for homeland security through the U.S.-Japan Framework Initiative for a Safe and Secure Society.

The NPA and the Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) continued to monitor the activities of Aum Shinrikyo, renamed Aleph, and splinter group Hikari no Wa, or "Circle of Light." In January, PSIA successfully filed a request to maintain surveillance of Aleph and Hikari no Wa for an additional three years. PSIA has monitored Aum since 2000 under the Organization Control Law, a measure that allows the Agency to conduct on-site facility inspection and to obtain quarterly operational reports from the cult.

Japan reached beyond its borders to fight terrorism as well. Japan is the second largest contributor to Iraq reconstruction with US$ 1.7 billion in grants, US$ 3.5 billion in concessionary loans, and US$ 6.9 billion in debt relief. Japan remained an active partner in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and a key international contributor to Afghan stabilization and reconstruction. Japan has pledged more than US$ 2 billion in reconstruction aid since 2002 and continued construction on the 114 kilometer stretch of the southern ring road between Kandahar and Herat. In November, Japan announced a new five-year, US$ 5 billion assistance package that included, among other items, continued funding of Afghan National Police salaries, job training initiatives, and employment programs for former lower-echelon insurgents. The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force continued to conduct refueling operations in support of OEF in the Indian Ocean. In April, Tokyo pledged US$ 1 billion for a wide-range of assistance to Pakistan over the next two years.

In December, Japan hosted the fifth annual U.S.-Japan-Australia Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) Counterterrorism Consultations, as part of the broader TSD, which aimed to coordinate regional activities. Japanese officials chaired a specialist working group on border security and counter-radicalization and took part in discussions on law enforcement capacity building and on ways to prevent chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks. The TSD Consultations followed a TSD Counter-radicalization Workshop Japan hosted in July.

Japan continued to assist counterterrorism capacity building in neighboring countries through dialogue, seminars, workshops, and training. In July, Japanese officials took part in the third Japan-South Korea Counterterrorism Consultations. In August, Japan co-chaired the Fourth Japan-ASEAN Counterterrorism Dialogue in Vietnam. In December, Japanese officials took part in the first Japan-Singapore Counterterrorism Dialogue. The Japanese Counterterrorism Ambassador reaffirmed the necessity of enhancing capacity building assistance to developing countries, strengthening counter-radicalization efforts, and promoting secure trade in the APEC region. In March, Japan hosted the Seminar on Promotion of Accession to International Counterterrorism Conventions and Protocols for the sixth consecutive year. Tokyo promoted information sharing and provided implementation guidance to participants including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and several members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, among others.

Japan supported regional projects, such as counterterrorism research in Malaysia and terrorist rehabilitation programs in Indonesia, through the Japan-ASEAN Integrated Fund. Over the past few years, Japan has invited roughly 60 teachers from 17 Indonesian provinces and 43 madrassas for the purpose of fostering "cultural understanding" and opening inter-faith dialogue. Japan has expanded the pool of visitors to include Yemen and the Philippines.

Japan assisted third-country law enforcement personnel by dispatching experts and accepting trainees. The Japanese Coast Guard (JCG), for example, provided capacity building services and training seminars to authorities from states that border the Straits of Malacca. Since 2002, Japan has provided training to Coast Guard counterparts from the Philippines and has offered technical assistance to support local police in Indonesia by, in part, introducing the Japanese police box, or koban[1] system.

Japan contributed to counterterrorism capacity building through membership in multilateral fora. In July, Japan joined G8 counterparts in calls to bolster the role of the United Nations; improve information sharing; strengthen the security of land, sea, and air transportation; and support the G8 Counterterrorism Action Group.

Japan undertook measures to combat terrorist financing. Japan cooperated on freezing assets of individuals and entities listed under UN Security Council resolutions to help stem the flow of terrorist financing to al-Qa'ida and the Taliban. Japan expanded the scope of business practices and professions under the Law for Prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds, which requires specified business operators, including financial institutions, to conduct customer identification and submit suspicious transaction reports. Under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law, Japanese financial institutions must confirm the identity of customers sending 100,000 yen or more overseas. For domestic remittances, financial institutions must identify originators of wire transfers over 100,000 yen (US$ 1,000). Japan's Banking Law also levies administrative sanctions on financial institutions that fail to comply with anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing measures. In addition, the Financial Services Agency and the NPA's Financial Intelligence Unit inspect financial institutions for compliance with counterterrorist financing laws and regulations.

In June, the Japanese Diet passed the Payment Services Act, which addresses October 2008 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation recommendations pertaining to customer due diligence and money transfer services. The evaluation had noted several deficiencies, including the low number of money laundering prosecutions, the absence of an established mechanism for freezing terrorist assets that covered domestic funds, and the absence of a requirement for financial institutions to establish and maintain procedures, policies, and internal controls to prevent illicit finance. Japan's Financial Services Agency must still adopt implementing rules. The Diet also amended Customs Act secondary legislation, which addressed in part the FATF recommendation pertaining to cross-border currency declaration and disclosure.

[1] Koban are often located near stations and busy entertainment areas and are supposed to act as a community policing center: a deterrent to criminal activity as well as providing a rapid response post in the case of actual wrongdoing. Each koban is usually staffed by a group of 4 police – 3 officers under the command of a sergeant working on 3 shifts of 8 hours under the control of the city or ward police station.

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