Japan cohosts workshop on combating corruption

HISTORIC INITIATIVE::The Japanese envoy said that it took his office three years to prepare to cohost the event, which this year focuses on fighting corruption

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 27, 2019 - Page 1

Japan yesterday joined Taiwan and the US for the first time in cohosting an international workshop under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), which Japanese Representative to Taiwan Mikio Numata praised as a valuable initiative for the region.

The two-day workshop, which focuses on combating corruption in the public and private sectors, was cohosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, which represents Tokyo’s interests in Taipei in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

It gathered 24 law-enforcement experts from 17 countries, including Japan, Malaysia and the US. It was the 16th event held under the GCTF since the Taiwan-US initiative was established in 2015 to serve as an institutionalized platform for bilateral cooperation on regional and global issues.

Since the GCTF’s establishment, more than 300 policymakers and experts from around the world have joined its events, which have covered various issues of common concern, including public health, media literacy, women’s empowerment, law enforcement and energy security, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) said.

“We are delighted that for the first time we have Japan joining us to cohost a GCTF workshop. Japan’s involvement brings with it the resources to address even more issues of common concern for the region,” Hsu said.

Taiwan has striven to eliminate corruption in the public and private sectors for many decades, Hsu said, an effort that has earned the country one of the best rankings among Indo-Pacific countries in Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions index.

Taiwan ranked 31st in last year’s report, while Japan and the US occupied the 19th and 22nd spots respectively.

In his speech, Numata said that when he arrived in Taiwan in 2014, he realized that not just Japan and the US, but other countries were also beginning to recognize Taiwan as an important partner in the region and the international community.

“This is the first time that Japan is cohosting the GCTF workshop. We are delighted to devote the utmost effort to contribute to this framework,” Numata said, expressing the hope that it would further promote the sharing of knowledge and experience, and the enhancement of practical cooperation.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the opening ceremony in Taipei, Numata said that he believes that the GCTF is a valuable initiative for the region and that it took his office three years to be able to cohost such an event.

He described the experience as “historic.”

The Japanese office’s role in yesterday’s event has triggered much speculation, as President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) have expressed on multiple occasions their interest in forging closer cooperation with Japan on non-conventional security issues.

Tackling corruption should be a shared challenge for all, as no communities are immune to corruption and the threats it poses to destabilize the foundation that enables societies to thrive, and institutions to act transparently and accountably, AIT Director Brent Christensen said.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a regional leader in Taiwan — a mature democracy not only dedicated to countering corruption, but willing to share its expertise with partners to make the Indo-Pacific region more resistant to the dangers of corruption,” he said.