Japan-ASEAN Relations

July 13, 2023
Photo session before the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Foreign Minister Hayashi makes a remarks at the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(Photo) The 24th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

On July 13, commencing at 4:05 p.m. local time (6:05 pm, JST) for about 70 minutes, the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the meeting. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. Opening Remarks

At the outset, Minister Hayashi stressed the importance of upholding and reinforcing the free and open international order based on the rule of law in order for the Indo-Pacific region to remain an Epicentrum of Growth. Minister Hayashi outlined Japan’s following initiatives, expressing support for ASEAN centrality and unity, and highlighting that Japan attaches importance to cooperation in line with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

  1. Efforts for the swift creation of the rapid financing facility and the development of a roadmap for possible financing structures in order to further strengthen the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM);
  2. Provision of 3.3 billion US dollars worth of emergency financial support loans to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic; and,
  3. Provision of rice assistance through the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) while the importance of food security has been reaffirmed in the wake of the recent spate of natural disasters and the spread of infectious diseases.

2. ASEAN+3 Cooperation

  1. Minister Hayashi emphasized that Japan would continue to fully support the mainstreaming of the AOIP, and promote concrete cooperation in the four priority areas of the AOIP as follows.
    - Maritime Cooperation: Cooperating to contribute to maritime security and freedom of navigation such as training of Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) operators as well as supporting the formulation and implementation of National Action Plans and human resources development under the ASEAN+3 Marine Plastics Debris Cooperative Action Initiative.
    - Connectivity: Renewing the Japan-ASEAN Connectivity Initiative this year.
    - SDGs: Supporting the following efforts based on the principle of human security:
    • Support for the APTERR, contribution to discussions on strengthening the organization of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) and promotion of concrete cooperation based on “ASEAN-Japan MIDORI Cooperation Plan”;
    • Full support for the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED) including the dispatch of experts;
    • Upgrade of the “ASEAN-Japan Climate Change Action Agenda 2.0”.
    - Economy: Working together towards the implementation of the RCEP Agreement in a transparent manner and the promotion of the Data Free Flow with Trust, and contributing to discussions on Disaster Risk Financing (DRF), Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI) and impact of financial digitalization in the region.
  2. Other participating countries remarked on their priority areas of cooperation including their own initiatives, post-pandemic economic recovery, health, food security, financial cooperation and digital economy.

3. Regional and international issues

  1. Minister Hayashi stated that:
    - Japan is seriously concerned about Myanmar where the situation continues to deteriorate, and will actively provide humanitarian assistance and give maximum support to ASEAN's efforts to implement the “Five-Point Consensus”;
    - Japan strongly condemns 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. Japan welcomes the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Joint Statement issued earlier today which expressed grave concern over this launch by North Korea. It is essential for the international community to be united and to fully implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID). Japan wishes to ask for ASEAN+3 countries’ continued understanding and cooperation toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue; and
    - Japan strongly condemns Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force is unacceptable anywhere in the world. Russia’s nuclear threats, let alone its use, is absolutely unacceptable.
  2. Other participating countries touched on the situation in Myanmar and spoke on the importance of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  3. In response to China’s claim that is not based on scientific evidence, Minister Hayashi clearly explained Japan's position that the ALPS treated water will be discharged into the sea in accordance with international standards and practices, taking into consideration of the conclusion of the IAEA Comprehensive Report.

4. Closing Remarks

In the end, Minister Hayashi stated that Japan hopes to enhance cooperation among ASEAN+3 countries to address mounting challenges, including the upholding and reinforcing of the international order, climate change, food and energy security, public health crises, digitization and AI governance.

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