Japan-ASEAN Relations

September 7, 2016
Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
The ASEAN Plus Three (Japan-China-Republic of Korea) Summit was held in Vientiane, Laos on September 7. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the meeting. The overview of the meeting is as follows. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of Laos.

1 Opening remarks

Prime Minister Abe stated the following.
  • It is important for the regional stability and prosperity to deepen ASEAN community's integration as partners who share in common values such as the rule of law and democracy. 
  • Japan, as an equal partner of ASEAN, strongly supports ASEAN centrality and unity and will continue to strongly support further integration of the ASEAN Community, mindful of the fact that the coming year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN Plus Three.
  • The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held on August 24. They discussed cooperation in a wide range of areas including disaster management, environment, youth exchange and economy, as well as North Korean issues and other regional and international affairs.

2 Review of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation and its future direction

(1) Prime Minister Abe stated the following.
We have been deepening cooperation based on the implementation of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan (2013-2017). We should conduct an appropriate review of the outcome so far and consider future work plans. Japan has deepened cooperation in such areas as higher education and public hygiene in particular.

(I) Economy

  • This May, Japan announced the "Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure" initiative, to provide financing of approximately 200 billion US dollars in the next five years to quality infrastructure across the world. For ASEAN in particular, in addition to infrastructure development, we stated that we would be undertaking the realization of "vibrant connectivity," in which the infrastructure in the region will be connected and utilized through institutional improvements including trade facilitation and the development of the areas along economic corridors. We will promote sustainable infrastructure investment in accordance with the "G7 Ise-Shima Principles for Promoting Quality Infrastructure Investment" which was agreed at this year's G7 summit.
  • In the financial sector, strengthening financial safety nets is important for minimizing the downside risks from the Brexit and the normalization of US monetary policy, and Japan will continue to contribute to enhancing the surveillance capacity of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office, which has been transformed into an international organization, and to clarifying the activation process of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation and its collaboration with the IMF.
  • With regard to the RCEP negotiations, we also intend to continue to engage in vigorous negotiations in collaboration with other countries with the aim of achieving a comprehensive, well-balanced, and high-level agreement.

(II) Food security

  • This year, Japan provided rice to the Philippines and Cambodia. We will further expand public-private partnership cooperation to construct a food value chain.
  • More than five years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Based on scientific evidence, we seek the prompt removal of restrictions by countries that maintain import restrictions on Japanese food products.

(III) People-to-people Connectivity

  • This January, we signed the Memorandum of Cooperation on ASEAN Plus Three Tourism. We hope that this will contribute to the promotion of tourism cooperation.
  • Human resources development is important for sustainable development in ASEAN. We will support human resources development and people-to-people connectivity in ASEAN through development of human resources in industries and study abroad programs for development of high level human resources to connect ASEAN and Japan. To this end, we will actively undertake the promotion of youth, student, and researcher exchanges.
(2) Leaders from China and ROK also introduced their cooperation project with ASEAN.

(3) All the ASEAN leaders evaluated cooperation between ASEAN and Japan-China-Republic of Korea. Also, many ASEAN leaders recalled Asian economic crisis as the start point of ASEAN+3 and they mentioned about expansion of its cooperation as ASEAN+3. Many ASEAN leaders pointed out the importance of expansion of trade and investment and development of infrastructure. In this context, they evaluated Japanese Principles for Promoting Quality Infrastructure Investment. Several leaders pointed out the importance of cooperation in the field of traditional/ non-traditional counter-terrorism. Also in this context, they spoke about the importance of countering violent extremism.

3 Regional and international affairs

(1) Prime Minister Abe stated the following.

(I) Terrorism and transboundary crimes

Japan has taken steps to prevent terrorist activities from infiltrating our region, including measures against terrorist funding and measures against terrorism and violent extremism. We intend to confront the threat of these transboundary crimes in close cooperation with the ASEAN Plus Three member countries.

(II) North Korea

The international community including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should respond in a resolute manner against the clear violations of UNSC resolutions by North Korea. Japan will make its utmost efforts to resolve North Korea's human rights and humanitarian issues including the abductions issue. Japan calls for understanding and cooperation from each country.

(III) Maritime security

It is important to adhere strictly to the Three Principles of the Rule of Law at Sea that Japan has long promoted and for the international community to work together in order to protect the open, free, and peaceful seas.

(2) Many ASEAN leaders expressed their concerns on nuclear and missile development of North Korea and some of them mentioned about cooperation in the field of maritime security and evaluated Japan-China-Republic of Korea cooperation. Also many ASEAN leaders mentioned that we should be ready for twentieth anniversary of ASEAN+3 cooperation next year.

Back to Japan-ASEAN Relations