Statements at Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Signing Ceremony

Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer
Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Katsutoshi Kaneda
Iikura House, Tokyo

June 21, 2006

SENIOR VICE-MINISTER KANEDA: Your Excellency, Ambassador Schieffer, ladies and gentlemen - a few words on behalf of my government as the Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs: It is my pleasure today to exchange between Ambassador Schieffer and myself the instruments of ratification of the Treaty Between Japan and the United States on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, which for Japan is the first mutual legal assistance treaty ever to be concluded.

The exchange between Japan and the United States started when Admiral Perry first arrived in 1853. And the Treaty of Peace and Amity between the US and Japan was signed the following year, 1854. Ever since, Japan and the US have overcome many hardships, deepened interaction in a variety of fields, and established the solid friendship that we enjoy today.

Next week, Prime Minister Koizumi will make an official visit to the United States, where he will hold a summit meeting with President Bush. That we were able to exchange the instruments of ratification today, so close to the prime minister's visit, symbolizes just how extensive our cooperation is between the two countries. Japan and the US have actively cooperated in judicial fields and criminal law enforcement. The abduction issue is one such area. In that light, it is thanks to you, ladies and gentlemen, for you and both governments' close cooperation, that we are gathered for the exchange ceremony today. Let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation for all your efforts.

Japan and the US have cooperated closely in the field of law enforcement to jointly combat international crimes. The conclusion of this MLAT will play its part in keeping our societies safe. Furthermore, I'm convinced that through this conclusion we will see an involved and strengthened bilateral relations between Japan and the US.

Let me thank once again for all the efforts to everyone involved. May this treaty be another engine to advance Japan-US relations. Thank you very much for your attention.

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER: Senior Vice-Minister Kaneda, members of the law enforcement community, ladies and gentlemen: I am very happy to be here today to exchange the instruments of ratification for the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with Mr. Kaneda.

This treaty is the culmination of years of diplomacy and underscores our commitment to close cooperation on law enforcement. It establishes a modern, streamlined framework for coordination in criminal cases and will facilitate the investigation and prosecution of crime, including taking testimony, exchanging documents, and executing requests for searches and seizures. I am confident that it will build upon the close relationship between the US and Japanese law enforcement officials and help protect our citizens.

We live in a dangerous era. This treaty illustrates that the US and Japan are stronger when we work together to confront threats and global challenges like terrorism, international crime, money laundering, and narcotics trafficking. Much hard work has gone into this treaty, but signing, ratifying and exchanging this document are only the beginning. We need to make the most of the new channels provided by the treaty to effectively and efficiently exchange information and apprehend and prosecute terrorists and transnational criminals. We can improve the way we fight crime and improve it together as we enhance the safety and security of our two nations.

I would like to personally thank our Japanese friends who worked so hard to make this treaty a reality, and of course, their American colleagues. Both of you can be very proud of the actions you have taken, because these actions and this treaty will make our two countries safer, better places to live, and that, of course, is what we are always trying to do in serving both our governments.

Domo arigato gozaimashita.