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Japanese, French foreign ministers on cooperation in counterterrorism

  • 2015-03-18 15:00:00
  • , Yomiuri
  • Translation

(Yomiuri: March 13, 2015 – p. 9)


 Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius jointly contributed the following article to Yomiuri Shimbun:


 Both Japan and France were attacked by terrorists in January. In France, a number of innocent people, including journalists, police officers, and Jews, were attacked. Two Japanese nationals, including a journalist, became victims of the fanatic brutality of the ISIL’s terrorism. Two years have passed since the terrorist attack in In Amenas, Alegeria, resulting in at least 38 casualties, including 10 Japanese and two French nationals. The terrorists have once again attacked our freedom and ability to coexist.


 These incidents have strengthened our determination to work together to fight terrorism. An ambitious international response is necessary.


 Terrorism has become a problem in many countries. The international community must unite for the security of these countries. France is participating today in several military operations in Iraq and in countries threatened by terrorist groups in the Sahel region of northern Africa.


 Japan has also supported the building of counterterrorism capability. Last fall, it invited antiterrorism officials from the Sahel region involved with criminal justice to Tokyo for a workshop. It also made a commitment to provide $15.5 million in aid to enhance border control and counterterrorism capability for Middle East and African nations. Furthermore, it will assist in building societies based on the spirit of moderation, so that they will not breed extremism, through the promotion of personnel exchanges and cooperation with the ASEAN states.


 Counterterrorism, like humanitarian aid, is both an urgent issue and a mid- and long-term undertaking. Broad-ranging social, economic, and educational measures are necessary. It will not be effective without the development of regions suffering from extreme poverty and hardship. It is important to stabilize people’s livelihoods and cultivate moderate thinking. That is the reason for financial aid to the Middle East and African countries. Positive official development assistance will make the construction of roads, schools, and hospitals possible and contribute to stabilizing areas vulnerable to the rise of terrorism.


 Counterterrorism is also a struggle that involves domestic measures. First, both of our societies need to be open and tolerant and we need to cooperate closely. Furthermore, respect for basic human rights must be reaffirmed in order to defend democracy. We must fight against all forms of racial prejudice and discrimination and the thinking that Muslims and terrorists are synonymous.


 In its fight against terrorism the international community needs to strengthen policies to rectify disparities in order to reduce the neglected population who are particularly vulnerable to extremism


 When confronted with the threat of terrorism, it is wrong to give in to fear, become inward-looking, and abandon openness and tolerance, which are the hallmarks of democratic societies. As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Francois Hollande indicated in their joint statement of 2013, we firmly believe that the best way to counter obscurantism is to strengthen cooperation in counterterrorism. While this will be a protracted struggle, our two countries will continue to cooperate closely.

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