The bilateral relationship between India and Japan is at the best ever in their histories, Japan's Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu has said, adding that both countries are now working on a variety of platforms for mutual cooperation and benefit.
"We are working on various issues of mutual cooperation. Japan is very happy to support India's endeavor to enhance level of living standards, supporting higher education, eradication of poverty, women's empowerment, tackling infectious diseases and providing better sanitation standards," Ambassador Hiramatsu said"during a recent interview that he had with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC).
He further stated, "The agenda we are working on together is very comprehensive and wide ranging. We are very committed to support India's endeavour to achieve various ambitious goals based on the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi."
When asked to share his insights on key global and Asian challenges that threaten nations today, the Ambassador of Japan said, "The issues we are facing in the region today are becoming more multifaceted in nature. We need robust institutions, and that is where organisations like UNODC are playing a very vital role. The issues are complex: living in this part of the world, we are seeing various challenges, such as terrorism, poverty eradication, diseases, and religious tensions, among other things. In particular, the issue of terrorism is getting more serious. The ISIS operation in Syria and Iraq has been diminishing, but foreign terrorist fighters are now splitting and relocating to other parts of the world, including in South Asia. As we witnessed last July, a terrorist attack took place in Dhaka where seven Japanese nationals were killed. We are very concerned about the situation."
He added, Japan has been actively supporting efforts on border control and better law enforcement in South Asia.
He also said that the situation with regard to North Korea is extremely critical and serious.
"To tackle the issue of violent extremism, we need a more comprehensive approach; not only dealing with terrorism per se, but also in addressing challenges such as the eradication of poverty, build harmonious communities and lessen religious tensions. As I said in the beginning, we need global solutions to resolve these problems,"Ambassador Hiramatsu said.
He also said that UNODC's approach in dealing with issues such as terrorism, health, security, justice and others is and continues to be valuable.
"Japan has been actively supporting efforts on border control and better law enforcement in South Asia, especially in terms of promoting human resource development and providing technical assistance to those who are dealing with border control and law enforcement issues. We have special programs to support border control and community ruling, and also to establish a centre for intelligence and information sharing in this region," he said.
"The global strategic landscape is steadily shifting. So, we have to deal with these issues in a very intelligent manner. Of course, the issue of nuclear terrorism has been there for many years. We have been having a series of nuclear terrorism summit meetings, and we have been actively participating in this matter. The situation with regard to North Korea is extremely critical and serious. The level of conflict has entered a new stage. We need a uniform and united solution to this crisis. All countries have to be united to pressurise North Korea to align with global nuclear rules and regulations. This is a serious threat for Japan,"he added.
He also described cyber security as a major challenge, not only for Japan, but for the entire world.
"Japan has established an organisation to deal with cyber security issues in a very comprehensive manner, with the participation of many experts. We are not only dealing with internal cyber security issues, but are also participating in discussions on tackling cyber threats, especially in promoting legal framework in the cyber space," he said.
"We are also supporting other developing countries in terms of capacity building to prepare them for future cyber crimes coming from other countries. We are engaged in bilateral discussions with many countries to share knowledge and information to tackle cyberattacks collectively. With India too, we have had regular discussions with cyber security experts," he added.