Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Japan

Domestically, Japan bolstered its defenses against terrorism by improving crisis management and first responder capabilities and took steps to strengthen border security. In 2007, 98 percent of local governments adopted plans to better protect the public from terrorist attacks. Japan held local drills simulating terrorist attacks to boost response capabilities. In January, Japan made it mandatory for both ship and air carriers to provide manifest information prior to the arrival of the conveyance.

In November, immigration officials began to collect and electronically store finger prints and facial imagery from foreigners under the revised Immigration and Refugee Control Act. The Ministry of Justice Immigration Bureau continued testing that began in 2004 on a biometric fingerprint and facial recognition system at Narita and Kansai airports with the aim of identifying people trying to enter Japan on fake passports.

Japan used Official Development Assistance (ODA) grants to expand counterterrorism capacity in Southeast Asia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Economic Cooperation Bureau increased funding for the annual Cooperation on Counterterrorism and Security Enhancement grant aid program. This FY-2007 65 million USD program included projects aimed at bolstering piracy prevention, increasing maritime and port security, and preventing weapons proliferation.

Japan made valuable contributions to building counterterrorism capacity among Asian countries. In May, Japan hosted a two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) conference aimed at battling terrorism in Asia, Europe, and beyond. Participants shared threat assessments and discussed ways to increase counterterrorism capacity-building. Japan provided assistance to the G8 Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG) and maintained momentum on improving port security via the G8 adopted Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI). Japanese experts participated in G8 bioterrorism workshops on forensic epidemiology and decontamination. In March, Japan hosted a seminar in which several Southeast Asian countries, as well as the United States and Australia, participated to promote accession and ratification of international counterterrorism treaties. In September, Japan hosted the ASEAN-Japan Counterterrorism Dialogue. In October, Japan became a partner nation in the U.S. Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

Japan increased efforts to combat terrorist financing. On April 1, 2007, the Japanese government promulgated a new anti-money laundering law, the Law for Prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds, which expanded the scope of businesses and professions under the previous law's jurisdiction, and moved the financial intelligence unit from the Financial Regulatory Agency to the National Police Agency (NPA) in accordance with FATF recommendations. Furthermore, the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law's January revision now requires Japanese financial institutions to confirm the identity of customers sending 100,000 yen ($900) or more overseas. The Financial Services Agency announced a similar change for domestic remittances; in an amendment to the Customer Identification by Financial Institutions rule, financial institutions are now required to identify the originators of wire transfers over 100,000 yen.

In June, Japan implemented revised infectious disease legislation aimed at tightening control of harmful pathogens that could be used for terrorism. In July, the Japanese government held a seminar on the prevention and crisis management of bioterrorism to strengthen mechanisms to combat CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) terrorism in the Asia Pacific. Participants included ASEAN countries, China, Korea, and the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counterterrorism (SEARCCT). In August, Japan ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Japan continued to reach beyond the region in its fight against terrorism; its trilateral counterterrorism cooperation with the United States and Australia remained strong. In June, Japan participated in a counterterrorism trilateral meeting in Australia to better synchronize regional activities.

Japan Air Self-Defense Forces, based in Kuwait, continued to provide airlift operations in support of Iraq. In July, the Cabinet approved a one-year extension of the deployment. During January thru October, the Maritime Self-Defense Forces provided approximately 5.7 million gallons of fuel to U.S. and allied naval vessels engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom (but ended refueling operations in the Indian Ocean in November).

Bilaterally, Japan was a responsive counterterrorism partner. In January, Japan and the United States initiated a pilot Immigration Advisory Program (IAP) at Narita Airport to identify high risk travelers before they board flights destined for the United States. The IAP pilot has been extended until July 2008; negotiations were underway to convert the pilot IAP into a longterm program.

Japan and the United States continued to improve the preparedness and interoperability of U.S. and Japanese armed forces and civilian entities to respond to and sustain operations during a CBRN attack. The bilateral CBRN Defense Working Group (CDWG), established under the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC), held plenary meetings, conducted seminars on decontamination and medical response and engaged in table top exercises in the United States and Japan. Representatives from the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Self Defense Forces, Cabinet Secretariat, the NPA, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, and the Nuclear Safety Commission, and other government agencies, participated in the CDWG.

The NPA and the Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) continued to monitor the activities of Aum Shinrikyo, renamed Aleph. In May, Fumihiro Joyu, a former spokesman and Aum leader, along with approximately 200 Aleph members, split and formed a new organization called Hikari No Wa (Ring of Light). PSIA and NPA continued to monitor both groups and inspected their facilities in 2007. The Tokyo High Court, in June, upheld the death sentence for Seiichi Endo for his involvement in the Matsumoto and Tokyo sarin attacks. In July, the Tokyo Court upheld the death sentence for former senior Aum member Tomomasa Nakagawa for his role in 11 crimes, including the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack. In August, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Masato Yokoyama for his involvement in the 1995 attack; he is not eligible for future appeals. The Supreme Court, in October, upheld the death sentence for Aum Shinrikyo member Satoru Hashimoto, who carried out the 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto. In November, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Satoru Hashimoto, for his involvement in the 1994 attack.

In April, police arrested suspected former Japan Red Army member Yu Kikumura upon reentry to Japan following deportation from the United States; Kikumura was deported after his release from U.S. prison for serving time for transporting home made bombs. In May, the Tokyo High Court upheld the life in prison sentence for Haruo Wako, for his role in both the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague and the 1975 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. The Tokyo District Court sentenced Jun Nishikawa to life in prison for his role in the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague and the 1977 hijacking of a Japan Airlines plane.


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