Undeniably, transnational crimes in general and terrorism in particular, pose enormous threats to peace, stability, and economic prosperity of nations.

© Institute for Economics & Peace

Source: Institute for Economics & Peace. Global Terrorism Index 2018: Measuring the impact of terrorism, Sydney, November 2018. Available from: http://visionofhumanity.org/reports (accessed 31 May 2019).

Furthermore, in the ASEAN region for instance, the Global Terrorism Index 2018 has reported that “Southeast Asia as a whole recorded a 36 per cent increase in deaths from terrorism from 2016 to 2017. Just under 97 per cent of deaths in the broader Asia-Pacific region occurred in Southeast Asia.” More importantly, serious impacts of these threats are glaring to victims who are mostly women and children.

Japan has been a long standing partner of ASEAN in combating transnational crimes, in particular countering terrorism. Japan and ASEAN have reaffirmed “the importance of having a framework for cooperation to prevent, disrupt and combat international terrorism through information exchange, intelligence sharing and capacity-building” through the adoption of the ASEAN-Japan Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism in 2004 and the ASEAN-Japan Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Crime in 2014.

Areas of Support and Key Contributions

ASEAN and Japan’s adoption of the Joint Declarations in 2004 and 2014 provided the impetus for intensifying cooperation in combating transnational crime in the region as well as the regular convening of the ASEAN-Japan Counter-Terrorism (AJCT) Dialogue and ASEAN-Japan Cybercrime (AJCC) Dialogue. These two mechanisms serve as ASEAN and Japan’s platforms to discuss and enhance cooperation related to efforts in addressing terrorism and cybercrime in the region. In streamlining activities under the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC)-Japan framework, the SOMTC-Japan Work Plan for Cooperation to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Crime 2015-2017 was first developed and adopted in 2015.

Following the conclusion of the Work Plan, SOMTC and Japan have also renewed and adopted the SOMTC-Japan Work Plan for Cooperation to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Crime (2018- 2022) in 2018, covering a comprehensive ten areas of cooperation on transnational crime in ASEAN supported through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). The following are the key contributions of completed/implemented projects to-date.

Areas of Cooperation Arms Smuggling Counter Terrorism Money Laundry Sea Piracy People Smuggling Trafficking in Persons International Economic Crime Cybercrime Illicit Drug Trafficking Illicit Trafficking of Wildlife and Timber
Since 2009, conducted at least 24 capacity building activities, such as trainings, workshops, and seminars on various topics related to counter-terrorism, including on arms smuggling and trafficking in persons, and benefitting at least 570 ASEAN Member State officials in charge of addressing terrorism-related initiatives
Conducted 3 AJCC Dialogues (2014-2018)
Conducted 11 AJCT Dialogues (2016-2018)
Conducted research and developed related publications on counter-terrorism
Undergraduates and Radicalisation
Publishing for Counter Radicalization
Mapping and Evaluating Deradicalization and Disengagement Programs in ASEAN
Conflict Resolution and Anti-Terrorism in ASEAN Countries
Comparative Research on Youth and Terrorism in the Southeast Asia
Youth and Terrorism
Preventive Side of Counter-Terrorism: Research on the Motivation of Terrorist and Root Causes of Terrorism

The ASEAN Cyber Capacity Development Project, which aims to enhance regional and extra-regional cooperation on cyber capacity building and training, law enforcement, coordination of efforts, legal matters and information exchange is currently at its final stage of implementation. The second phase of this Project is also being pursued.
List of JAIF Projects on Combating Transnational Crimes
As of 30 June 2019