Staff writer The head of the United Nations Drug-Control Program hopes Japan will devote more of its U.N. contribution to the program, claiming it is cost-effective in the domestic war against narcotics. Pointing out Japan’s declining contribution to the Vienna-based UNDCP, Executive Director Pino Arlacchi said the “impact of funds invested through us in narcotics control is enormous.” The impact, he told The Japan Times, is sometimes a hundred times that of funds invested domestically for drug control. The Italian national visited Tokyo this week to attend the Anti-Drug Conference, Tokyo 2000, which was jointly organized by UNDCP and several Japanese ministries and agencies to discuss effective measures to stem the flow of illicit drugs in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.N. had proclaimed 1990 to 2000 as the “Decade Against Drug Abuse.” In 1998, the special U.N. session to address the drug problem declared that countries must establish new or enhanced measures to reduce the drug demand in their home markets by 2003, and that they must achieve “significant” results in reducing both demand and supply. Arlacchi said the UNDCP program has made notable successes in recent years, particularly in encouraging cultivation of alternative crops for growers of materials used for production of illegal drugs. For example, production of coca was reduced by 70 percent in Bolivia and 60 percent in Peru, he said, and Colombia — another major coca-producing country — has just started a similar program with support worth $1.3 million from the U.N. As an example of work done on the demand side in developed countries, he cited Britain’s launch two years ago of a strategy that aims to reduce demand by 15 percent in 10 years. “I hope other European countries and Japan as well will accept my appeal to start a similar strategy,” he said. Although consumption of narcotics is increasing all over Asia, he said, demand for hard drugs has leveled off in Europe and is falling in the United States. Meanwhile, abuse of amphetamines, including synthetic drugs such as speed and Ecstasy, has become more serious. The UNDCP estimates about 30 million people use such drugs worldwide. Amphetamines are rapidly spreading in Japan, especially among young people, but Arlacchi said he is more anxious about the roles underworld syndicates play in smuggling drugs into the country. In this sense, he praised the Japanese government for efforts toward legislation to fight organized crime. Any crime organization can be defeated “with proper strategies,” said Arlacchi, who lost a number of his law-enforcement friends in the battle against the Mafia. As a sociology professor, Arlacchi conducted research on the Mafia’s business, which drew him into the war on drugs. As senior adviser to the Interior Ministry, he established in the early 1990s a law-enforcement agency called Direzione Investigativa Antimafia. It is entrusted with fighting organized crime and has successfully indicted a Mafia boss who had earlier been considered out of antidrug authorities’ reach. While serving in the Italian Senate from 1995 to 1997, he also served as vice president of the Parliamentary Commission on the Mafia. His own life was threatened once in a bomb attack while he was driving on an expressway. But he said he is not scared: “When I am in Italy, I am heavily protected.”

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