Japan-ASEAN Relations

November 12, 2020
23rd Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting 1 Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
23rd Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting 2 Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
23rd Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting 3 Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
On Thursday, November 12, commencing at 4:45 p.m. and concluding at 6:00 p.m., the Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting and an event to mark the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases were both held online. Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide attended from Japan, The overview of the meeting focusing on his remarks is as follows (Chairman: Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam).

1 Opening Remarks

Following a statement by Prime Minister Phuc, Prime Minister Suga stated the following.

(1) Opening Remarks

  1. I am pleased to participate in the ASEAN-related Summit for the first time, and I pay tribute to Prime Minister Phuc and the government of Vietnam.
  2. As a friend of ASEAN, Japan would like to cooperatively work towards the further prosperity of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  3. Japan will work closely with the ASEAN countries to steadily achieve a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific." I look forward to visiting ASEAN countries in the future and talking directly to you (the leaders).

(2) Progress in Cooperation with ASEAN in the wake of COVID-19

  1. I am delighted to be able to jointly announce the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases. Japan will spare no effort in helping the Centre develop into an institution that, as a hub for the region's fight against infectious diseases, will protect ASEAN's people from the threat these diseases pose. Japan hopes to work hand in hand with ASEAN countries and continue cooperating with them on an ongoing basis.
  2. The "Japan-ASEAN Economic Resilience Action Plan" will provide support for businesses that are working to strengthen their supply chains and promote social change through the use of digital technology.

(3) The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific(AOIP)

  1. The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, issued by ASEAN last year, sets forth the rule of law, openness, freedom, transparency, and inclusivity as ASEAN's principles of action. This Outlook has many fundamental commonalities with the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" promoted by Japan, and Japan strongly supports it. Sharing these fundamental principles is the cornerstone of cooperation between Japan and ASEAN.
  2. Japan wishes to cooperate in accordance with AOIP's priority areas of maritime cooperation, connectivity, SDGs, the economic and other possible areas of cooperation.(Japan’s Cooperation Projects on AOIP as of Nov. 2020 Example of the projects(PDF))
  3. On connectivity, Japan launches the "Japan-ASEAN Connectivity Initiative(PDF)" with focus on the ongoing 2 trillion yen worth quality infrastructure projects. Japan will help strengthen land, sea, and air corridor connectivity through infrastructure development together with human resource development of 1,000 individuals over the next three years.
  4. I recently announced that Japan will reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. By applying innovation to facilitate a virtuous circle between the economy and the environment, it hopes to cooperate with ASEAN countries to achieve a decarbonized society as called for by the Paris Agreement.

2 Closed Session

(1) In addition to congratulating Prime Minister Suga on his appointment as Prime Minister, the ASEAN members expressed their appreciation for Japan's cooperation with ASEAN, including Japan's support for the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies and its decision to contribute 1 million US dollars to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. The ASEAN members also expressed their support for resolving the abductions issue by North Korea.

(2) Prime Minister Suga made the remarks outlined below.

(East and South China Seas)
Japan is seriously concerned about unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas. With regard to the South China Sea, it is imperative that legitimate rights under international law, including freedom of navigation and overflight, be respected.

(North Korea)
The full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions is essential to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges of North Korea. Japan also asks for understanding and cooperation toward the early resolution of the abductions issue.

(Hong Kong)
The recent situation in Hong Kong is also cause for grave concern.

3 Event to mark the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases

After a short video clip was shown at the start of the event, Prime Minister Phuc announced the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases. Prime Minister Suga closed the event by offering his congratulatory message stating that Japan will continue to provide  support, including through technical cooperation by JICA through dispatching experts and conducting training, to ensure that the Centre develops into a robust organization that will protect ASEAN's people from the threat posed by infectious diseases.

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