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Secretary Napolitano Meets with Her Asia/Pacific Counterparts in Tokyo on Ways to Bolster International Aviation Security

Release Date: 
March 13, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Tokyo—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today was in Tokyo at the invitation of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to meet with top officials from the Asia/Pacific region and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to discuss ways to bolster global aviation security.

“The attempted terrorist attack on Dec. 25 had global ramifications—demonstrating the need for enhanced security standards, information sharing and screening measures throughout the international aviation system,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Today’s meetings with partners from nations throughout the Asia/Pacific region underscore our commitment to working together to strengthen the ways we protect the traveling public.”

In Tokyo, Secretary Napolitano stressed the need for collaborative international action to prevent terrorists from boarding commercial aircraft during meetings with ministers and representatives from Australia, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—the third in a series of major international meetings intended to build consensus on strengthening global aviation security.

Secretary Napolitano underscored the vital importance of the Asia/Pacific region as the world’s largest aviation market—with approximately 647 million passengers traveling in 2009 alone—and emphasized the Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening information sharing with international partners about terrorists and other dangerous individuals who pose a threat to the global aviation system.

In 2010, the United States and New Zealand signed an agreement strengthening security through increased cooperation on science and technology. In 2008, DHS, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State also worked together to forge an agreement to prevent and combat crime with the Republic of Korea by allowing for the exchange of biometric and biographic data to bolster counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts while ensuring privacy protections.

Following today’s meetings, Secretary Napolitano and participating officials issued a joint declaration on a way forward to strengthen the international civil aviation system through enhanced information collection and sharing, cooperation on technological development, and modernized aviation security standards—viewable at http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/international/gc_1268482529313.shtm.

While the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not conduct screening at foreign airports, Secretary Napolitano is committed to strengthening coordination with international partners to implement stronger and more effective measures to protect the integrity of the global aviation network. Today’s discussions in Tokyo build on recent international meetings attended by Secretary Napolitano that have also resulted in joint declarations to strengthen the international civil aviation system between the United States and Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama on Feb. 17, and between the United States and the European Union on Jan. 21.

Last week, Secretary Napolitano met with CEOs of member airlines of the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the largest airline trade association in the United States, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents approximately 230 airlines and more than 90 percent of the world's air traffic—building on previous meetings with domestic and international private sector and ICAO leaders in Europe and Washington since January—as part of her ongoing efforts to bring together major domestic and foreign air carriers to work on ways to bolster international aviation security.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.

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