U.N. congress on crime prevention opens in Japan amid pandemic

U.N. congress on crime prevention opens in Japan amid pandemic

March 7, 2021   11:50 pm

A United Nations congress on crime prevention opened Sunday in Kyoto, Japan in a hybrid format combining in-person attendance with online streaming to enable virtual participation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

High-level government representatives will address a broad range of issues on crime prevention and the justice system, as well as on how to strengthen international cooperation, at the 14th U.N. Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice through Friday.

A total of 5,600 people from 152 countries are participating, with some 4,200 registered to attend virtually, the United Nations said.

The Kyoto Declaration, a roadmap for cooperation in crime prevention and criminal justice over the next five years, was unanimously adopted by delegates at the opening session.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told the opening session that Japan would “play a leading role” in the implementation of the declaration and “spare no effort to achieve inclusive, safe and secure societies with no one left behind.”

The opening also featured remarks by Princess Hisako, the widow of former Emperor Akihito’s late cousin, who addressed the congress in English.

The U.N. crime congress is the largest international conference in the field of criminal justice. Held every five years since 1955, the 2020 congress was postponed by a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Attended not only by justice ministers and top prosecutors of U.N. member states but also representatives of civil society, the congress aims to strengthen policies and bolster international cooperation to tackle transnational organized crime.

Japan was the first non-European country to host the U.N. Crime Congress in 1970 when it was also held in Kyoto. The 2021 event marks the return of the congress to the western Japan city after half a century.

The last congress, held in Doha, Qatar in 2015, had around 4,000 participants from 150 countries.


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