Drug abuse is not a problem that can be solved by just one nation, Shozo Azuma, parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs, said at the opening ceremony of “Anti-Drug Conference, Tokyo 2000” on Monday. Law enforcement and financial officials as well as researchers from about 20 Asia- Pacific nations gathered in Tokyo to discuss measures to stem the flow of illicit drugs in the region. Azuma emphasized the importance of cooperation among the international community to tackle the problem. He also said: “In Japan, abuse of stimulants is spreading, especially among the young generation, and the amount of such drugs confiscated by authorities is higher than ever.” Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the United Nations International Drug Control Program, also stressed in his opening address the rise in abuse throughout the world of amphetamine-type stimulants, especially among young people, including synthetic drugs such as speed and Ecstasy. He said young people are not taking amphetamine-type stimulants to rebel against society but “they are adapting to it” as part of their social behavior, suggesting the need for new approaches different from those used to cope with other types of drug abuse. The conference, which runs until Thursday, consists of four specialized seminars organized by the UNDCP, the National Police Agency, the Maritime Safety Agency and the World Customs Organization, as well as the Finance Ministry. The four seminars are to cover topics from drug production to money laundering. The special U.N. session to address the drug problem, which was held in 1998, declared that countries must establish new or enhanced measures to reduce drug demand by 2003, with collaboration of health, welfare and law enforcement authorities, and that they must achieve “significant” results in reducing both demand and supply. Japan launched a five-year strategy in 1998, in which relevant ministries and agencies will tackle the problem together, Azuma said.

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