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G8 summit host Japan urged to implement International Anti-Corruption Convention

TI deplores “small group” holding back effective implementation

"The G8-summit in Japan must squarely address the issue of corruption and urge their summit host, Japan, to fully implement the landmark OECD Anti-Bribery Convention," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of the global anti-corruption group, Transparency International (TI).

Japan is among a small group of G7-countries lagging behind in the process of translating the OECD Convention into adequate domestic law. The Convention requires signatories to make it a crime to bribe foreign officials.

"Corruption will be high on the agenda of the summit due to start in Okinawa, Japan, on Friday. But the G8 summit must not remain silent on the fact that four of the participants � Italy, France and the United Kingdom as well as Japan � can be seen as effectively blocking full implementation of the OECD Convention," said TI Chairman Peter Eigen.

The OECD Convention is the most powerful tool to achieve lasting progress in curbing a plight that has devastated economies all around the globe, he said. The Convention � negotiated and brought into effect in record time � makes it a crime in the home country of a company to make bribe payments abroad. Yet, the working mechanism of the Convention rests on the basic assumption that the same rules will apply to all major exporters. "This makes it all the more troubling that Japan, France, Italy and the United Kingdom are all lagging behind their partners in the G7-group in fully implementing the ban on bribery," Dr Eigen said.

While Japan technically ratified the Convention in October 1998, a report recently published by the OECD Working Group on Bribery slashed the implementing bill and questioned whether its provisions fully apply to corruption abroad (see: OECD country report on Japan)

Britain recently published a White paper pledging effective legislation, but Dr Eigen noted that this may not get onto the statue books ahead of the next general election so that effective laws may be years, rather than months, away. In Italy, implementing legislation has been repeatedly amended and still needs final approval by the Senate.

TI deplored the scant resources at the OECD to monitor whether member countries have not only translated the Convention into domestic law but are also actually applying and enforcing it."It seems all the more incredible that, with a staff of 1,800, the OECD cannot assign more than three (sic!) people to make sure that the Convention achieves its objectives," said Eigen.

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