Japan-ASEAN Relations

August 5, 2015
The Japan-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Ministerial Meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 5. Mr. Minoru Kiuchi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting. The overview is as follows. State Minister Kiuchi and H.E. Mr. Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which is the ASEAN dialogue coordinator for Japan, served as co-chairs.

1 Review of the Japan-ASEAN relationship and the way forward

(1) Support for the ASEAN community building and cooperation in the economic field

i) State Minister Kiuchi stated that a more integrated, stable and prosperous ASEAN is extremely important for the stability and prosperity of the region as a whole, and explained that of the 2 trillion yen of Official Development Assistance (ODA) over a five-year period that was announced at the 2013 ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit, more than 850 billion yen has already been implemented, and Japan-ASEAN cooperation is steadily progressing in the four pillars of the Vision Statement adopted at that Commemorative Summit. State Minister Kiuchi stated that Japan will strongly support the ASEAN Community building this year and integration efforts beyond this year through provision of approximately 110 billion U.S. dollars for ''quality infrastructure investment'' in Asia over the next 5 years based on the ''Partnership for Quality Infrastructure,'' and approximately 750 billion yen of Japan-Mekong cooperation over the next three years.

ii) In addition, State Minister Kiuchi expressed expectation over the Comprehensive Asia Development Plan (CADP) 2.0 currently being formulated by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), and mentioned further utilization of the ASEAN-Japan Centre.  

(2) Cooperation in the political and security fields

State Minister Kiuchi expressed the view that Japan intends to proactively contribute to the peace and stability of the region by cooperating with ASEAN member countries, and explained Japan's approach of ''Proactive Contribution to Peace'' based on the principle of international cooperation, including the Legislation for Peace and Security. State Minister Kiuchi explained that Japan will continue to cooperate on maritime security and navigation safety, including support for capacity building of coast guards of ASEAN countries and the provision of patrol vessels and equipment, and will also cooperate on promoting moderation and measures to counter radicalism. State Minister Kiuchi shared the outcomes of the High Level Seminar on Peacebuilding, National Reconciliation and Democratization in Asia that was held in Tokyo in June, and stated that Japan also intends to pursue cooperation with the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

(3) Disaster management and climate change

i) State Minister Kiuchi explained that Japan hopes to promote cooperation in the disaster management, including strengthening the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center), enhancing capacity in the disaster medical care field and holding symposiums for enhancing resilience against natural disasters, and he expressed gratitude for the large number of ASEAN member countries that are supporting the designation of November 5 as ''World Tsunami Day.''

ii) State Minister Kiuchi stated that Japan intends to cooperate with ASEAN on efforts to reach an agreement on a framework that is fair, effective and in which all countries participate at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the conservation and sustainable utilization of fishery resources, including cetaceans.

(4) People-to-people exchanges

State Minister Kiuchi explained that under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) 2015 program, approximately 1,900 individuals are invited and sent, and more than 200 Japanese Language Partners will be sent under the WA Project, between Japan and ASEAN this fiscal year, and in addition, bidirectional exchange projects are scheduled in a variety of fields, including art, the performing arts and film, and sports. State Minister Kiuchi also stated that support for ASEAN exchange students to attend the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT) will be enhanced, and a ASEAN-Japan TV Festival is also scheduled to be held in Malaysia in September.

2 Regional and international affairs

(1) State Minister Kiuchi expressed the view that freedom of the high seas in the expanse of ocean from the Pacific through the East China Sea and the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean is a fundamental value and adhering thoroughly to the ''three principles of the rule of law at sea'' is important. State Minister Kiuchi stated that coastal states should exercise self-restraint in unilateral actions that cause a permanent physical change to the marine environment in maritime areas pending final delimitation. Along with explaining the latest situation in the East China Sea, he also voiced deep concern over unilateral actions that change the status quo and heighten tensions in the South China Sea, including large-scale land reclamation, the construction of outposts and their use for military purposes, and he expressed hope for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC).

(2) In addition, State Minister Kiuchi mentioned the importance of North Korea refraining from further provocations and taking steps for denuclearization, and of all countries fulfilling Security Council resolutions, along with seeking the understanding and cooperation of the ASEAN member countries for the resolution of the abductions issue. Furthermore, State Minister Kiuchi explained the importance of achieving concrete results in UN Security Council reform this year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN.

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