Senior transport officials from 14 countries opened an anti-terrorism conference in Tokyo yesterday with a vow to enhance security measures for ships, airplanes and land travel.
The conference was the first of its kind in bringing together ministers of major countries responsible for transport security to discuss policy measures and share information.
US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said he was encouraged by the turnout. "It's very heartening to me that we had this large a response," Mineta said. "It's very important that we all take a collaborative approach." The talks were divided into separate sessions on land, sea and air security, according to the AP.
Saying acts of terrorism pose a serious threat at sea and that armed robbery and piracy recur with "alarming consequences," the delegates agreed in a joint statement that it is "essential to reduce the vulnerability of international maritime transport."
The ministers encouraged stepped-up screening to detect explosives on airplanes, and the use of biometric techniques to identify suspect passengers. They said that although security has improved, "terrorists are refining and adapting their tactics to perpetrate further acts of unlawful interference against aviation."