Japan-ASEAN Relations

July 13, 2023
(Photo) ASEAN-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Foreign Minister Hayashi makes an opening remarks at the ASEAN-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

On July 13, commencing at 1:15 p.m. local time (3:15 pm, JST) for about 60 minutes, the ASEAN-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the meeting. The meeting was cochaired by Minister Hayashi and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

1. Opening Remarks

The overview of Minister Hayashi’s remarks is as follows.

  1. This year marks the historic moment of the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. Japan is the first country in the world to establish dialogue relations with ASEAN back in 1973. For the last half-century since then, Japan and ASEAN have been working together , not just as close business partners but also as true friends with “heart-to-heart” relations for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
  2. As the catchphrase of the 50th anniversary year, “Golden Friendship, Golden Opportunities” describes, this year is indeed a “Golden Opportunity” to further strengthen Japan-ASEAN relations in order to pass on our long-standing “Golden Friendship” to the next generation and jointly create a new era.
  3. To conclude the 50th anniversary year, Japan will welcome the ASEAN Leaders to Tokyo and hold the Commemorative Summit from 16 to 18 December. At the Commemorative Summit, we would like to jointly announce a vision that set out the broad direction of Japan-ASEAN relations and cooperation in the coming years.

2. Review of ASEAN-Japan Cooperation and its Future Direction

  1. Deputy Prime Minister Don of Thailand and Ministers of other countries mentioned that Japan’s efforts under the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” has been contributing to the progress of efforts under the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” and expressed their appreciation for Japan's cooperation in many areas and their hope that this year's Commemorative Summit will be an opportunity to further strengthen ASEAN-Japan relations.
  2. The overview of Minister Hayashi’s remarks in response is as follows.
    i. Japan has been consistently supporting ASEAN centrality and unity, and has implemented many concrete cooperation projects in line with four priority areas of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)
    ii. Japan has been taking initiatives, including energy transition assistance through the “Asia Zero Emission Community” initiative, the establishment of ERIA's Centre for Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy, and support for the establishment and operationalization of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.
    In the ‘‘New Plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)’’announced by Prime Minister Kishida in March, he clearly positioned the Southeast Asia as an important region. He also announced a new contribution of 100 million US dollars to the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, and a renewal of the Japan-ASEAN Connectivity Initiative.
    iii. Japan would like to further promote attractive cultural, people-to-people, and intellectual exchange such as JENESYS and the “WA Project”.

3. Regional and international issues

  1. Minister Don and Ministers of other countries mentioned the importance of the Freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea, the importance of international order based on the rule of law, and the importance of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the resolution of abductions issue.
  2. In response, Minister Hayashi stated that, in order to maintain peace and stability in the international community, it is important that we all agree on the following points.
    i. All countries should adhere to the principles of the United Nations Charter, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
    ii. Confrontation should be resolved peacefully through dialogue, and we support a just and durable peace that is based on respect for international law and the principles of the UN Charter.
    iii. Any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force is unacceptable anywhere in the world.
    iv. We strive to uphold the free and open international order based on the rule of law.
  3. Furthermore, Minister Hayashi strongly condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine. He also spoke on the situation in the East and South China Seas, stating that claims of maritime interests and maritime activities should be conducted in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He strongly condemned the launch of an ICBM-class ballistic missile by North Korea on July 12 as it threatens the peace and security of the international community. He also asked ASEAN countries for their continued understanding and cooperation toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue. He also expressed serious concerns over the situation in Myanmar, and stressed that Japan would continue to actively provide humanitarian assistance, and to give maximum support to ASEAN's efforts to implement the “Five-Point Consensus.” He also spoke on the importance of maintaining and strengthening a rules-based, free and fair economic order, and strongly opposed economic coercion.

4. The Democratic Republic of Timor Leste

H.E. Bendito dos Santos Freitas, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, who attended the Meeting as an observer, delivered a remark and expressed appreciation for Japan’s assistance such as human resource development towards Timor Leste’s full membership of ASEAN.

5. Closing Remarks

Minister Hayashi and Minister Don made concluding remarks, and confirmed that Japan and ASEAN will continue close consultations towards the success of the Commemorative Summit in December. Minister Hayashi said that, taking the opportunity of the 50th anniversary year, Japan would like to show the world that Japan and ASEAN are trusted partners which will lead a new era, and jointly create a sustainable and prosperous future for the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

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