Koizumi to offer antiterrorism training at APEC summit

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will organize an antiterrorism training program for about 250 officials from developing nations in fiscal 2003, Japanese officials said Saturday.

He plans to present the initiative to his Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation counterparts later this month.

An outline of the “Koizumi Initiative” features a package of programs and proposals under the twin goals of fighting terrorism and enhancing trade, according to the officials. The APEC summit will be held from Oct. 26 to Oct. 27 in Los Cabos, Mexico.

APEC officials said the annual summit is expected to focus on specific ways for the 21-member forum to pursue both counterterrorism and free trade compatibly.

Koizumi will emphasize the need to strengthen antiterrorism measures in developing economies in the wake of recent incidents, including the Oct. 12 bomb blasts on the Indonesian resort island of Bali that killed more than 180 people, the Japanese officials said. Indonesia is one of the founding members of APEC.

The initiative highlights a program under which Japan will help educate the officials in seven areas, including crisis management, immigration administration and customs cooperation.

Koizumi will also call for expanding to all APEC economies a U.S. security initiative for maritime cargo. The expansion is designed to allow customs officials of importing states to be stationed at exporting ports and to check the security of cargo containers before shipment.

APEC’s original objectives of advancing free trade and investment expanded to encompass counterterrorism issues last year after strong post-Sept. 11 diplomacy by U.S. President George W. Bush.

On trade issues, Koizumi will convey Japan’s commitment to promoting structural reforms and nurturing new areas, such as free trade agreements. He considers these issues essential for encouraging companies and revitalizing APEC economies, the officials said.

The outline specifically promises Japan’s participation from fiscal 2003 in the so-called APEC Business Travel Card plan, designed to allow businesspeople to travel without visas in member countries.

The plan also touches on Japan’s five-year trade training program for 4,500 people from developing nations that began in fiscal 2000. Koizumi will promise to reserve about half of the spots for APEC partners as part of Tokyo’s economic and technical cooperation.

He will also urge his APEC counterparts to begin talks to realize the goals of liberalizing trade and investment agreed on in the Bogor declaration, adopted at a 1994 summit in Indonesia. The target date for developed-country members is 2010 while that for developing countries is 2020.

The outline includes the following:

* Offering antiterrorism training for about 250 government officials from developing nations in fiscal 2003 in seven fields.

1 Stepping up work for free-trade agreements and structural reforms to accelerate trade liberalization.

* Participating from fiscal 2003 in the APEC Business Travel Card plan.

* Expanding to all APEC economies the security initiative for maritime cargo.

* Supporting the adoption of a system to provide information on airline passengers in advance.

* Reserving for APEC partners about half of the 4,500 seats in a five-year training program in the trade area.

* Launching substantial talks to realize the Bogor declaration.

Set up in 1989, APEC consists of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.