25 April 2002


(Reissued as received.)

TOKYO, 24 April -- The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) co-organized the fifth Inter-parliamentary Drug Control Conference in Tokyo on 23-24 April 2002. The conference was held in cooperation with the Federation of Japanese Parliamentarians to Fight against Abuse of Narcotics and ATS (amphetamine-type stimulant) and the Government of Japan. The conference was attended by 85 participants from 35 countries from Asia, Europe and the Americas including representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the International Narcotics Control Board, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the World Health Organization.

The conference focused on the rising problem of ATS and other synthetic drugs abused particularly in Asia and reviewed developments regarding the drug problem in Afghanistan.

In his opening remarks, former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, President of the Federation and Chairman of the conference said: "The aggravated situation surrounding drug issues in recent years relates closely to globalization of the economy and crimes. It is critical to maintain a forum where leaders of anti-drug measures and policy makers from all over the world can gather and exchange opinions on the situation and solutions freely and openly".

Steinar B. Bjornsson, Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), who co-chaired the event, said: "The production, trafficking and abuse of ATS is increasing in all regions of the world. It is a genuinely global problem and it is gratifying to see a consensus among concerned countries for greater cooperation at the country and regional level, as well as between prevention, treatment and enforcement agencies to deal with it. This goes hand in hand with UNDCP’s balanced approach between demand reduction and supply reduction".

The Chairman’s summary, which was read out by Mr. Hashimoto at the closing session and endorsed by the participants, called for enhanced cooperation among law enforcement agencies at the regional and international level to thwart illicit drug trafficking; improved monitoring and control of precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of ATS; and targeted prevention and education programmes aimed at young people.

The inter-parliamentary drug control conference was initiated in 1998 by members of the European Parliament and United States Congress to allow for a free exchange of views among parliamentarians and policy makers. The first meeting was held in Scotland in 1998 followed by Austria (1999), Washington (2000) and Bolivia (2001). The next year (2003) meeting will be hosted by Sweden with the focus on drug abuse and the youth.

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