Japanese Emphasize Commitment To Eradicating Casualties

Japan’s commitment to tackling the problems caused by land mines was stressed Monday as State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura addressed delegates to the International Forum on Demining and Victim Assistance in Phnom Penh.

Speaking at the opening ceremonies for the three-day conference, the cost of which is being underwritten by the Japanese government, Machimura said it was only right that the theme of the conference, “Toward Zero Victims,” should be the overwhelming purpose of all those concerned with the elimination of land mines.

The theme had been adopted at a conference in Tokyo last year that stressed the target of “ownership and partnership.” “Ownership refers to the key role that mine-affected countries should play in mine clearance and victim assistance activities, while partnership refers to the cooperation that the international community should extend to those mine-affected countries,” he stated.

Cambodian Mine Action Center, the organizers of the conference, has demonstrated the value of the ownership and partnership principle.

Forum organizer CMAC had demonstrated those principles well, Machimura said.

While the organization was originally set up under the Untac program in the early 1990s, it has since been transferred to the control of the Cambodian government.

Japan’s financial commitment to the zero-victims goal has included $1 million to create a Mine Action Center in Bosnia-Herzegovina, $1 million to aid the Slovenian International Trust Fund and there are plans to contribute $2 million to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund, of which $1 million will go to the UNDP project in Mozambique and $900,000 to CMAC for use in Cambodia.

Future assistance to Cambodia, Machimura said, will include providing management experts to CMAC and purchase of equipment to increase efficiency of operations and support for NGOs that are working with CMAC.

 

 

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