Japan-ASEAN Relations

October 27, 2021
The state of Prime Minister Kishida who attends the 24th ASEAN Plus Three via video conference The 24th ASEAN Plus Three
(Japan-China-Republic of Korea) Summit
(Photo: Cabinet Public Affairs Office)
The state of Prime Minister Kishida who attends the 24th ASEAN Plus Three via video conference The 24th ASEAN Plus Three
(Japan-China-Republic of Korea) Summit
(Photo: Cabinet Public Affairs Office)

On October 27, commencing at 4:00 p.m. for 1 hour and 20 minutes, Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, attended the 24th ASEAN Plus Three (Japan-China-Republic of Korea) Summit (Chair: His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam), held via video conference. An overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. Support for Response to COVID-19

At the outset, Prime Minister Kishida stated the following.

  • (1) Japan will continue to provide full support for the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases through developing the detailed design of the Centre, as well as providing training and dispatching experts through JICA.
  • (2) Regarding medical support, in addition to contributions to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, Japan is further offering assistance worth more than $200 million USD by providing medical supplies and equipment, and developing cold chains. In addition, Japan fully supports ensuring equitable access to safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccines for as many people as possible with a view to achieving Universal Health Coverage guided by the principle of human security. Japan has provided more than 16 million doses of vaccines to the ASEAN region.
  • (3) Regarding support to revitalize the economy, Japan has provided near interest-free financial support loans to ASEAN countries and expanded investment in quality infrastructure, etc. through the Initiative on Overseas Loan and Investment for ASEAN. In addition, under the Japan-ASEAN Economic Resilience Action Plan, projects such as those to promote Asia digital transformation and to strengthen ASEAN’s supply chain resilience are progressing. Japan intends to expand the Action Plan based on its priority areas.

2. Review and Future Direction of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation

Prime Minister Kishida stated the following regarding ASEAN Plus Three cooperation.

  • (1) Food Security
    Japan welcomes the expansion of support provided by the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) to respond to COVID-19 and will support its further utilization.
  • (2) Economy and Finance
  •  (A) Japan concluded the RCEP Agreement in June this year. Japan will work with each country toward the early entry into force and full implementation of the RCEP Agreement. Japan will also advance the materialization of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT).
  •  (B) Amid concerns about the impact of higher crude oil prices on the world economy, Japan would like to cooperate with each country to stabilize the international crude oil market through sufficient supply, including increased production.
  •  (C) Japan welcomes the entry into force of the amended Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) Agreement in March this year, and expects the continued commitment of each country.
  • (3) Future Direction of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation
    Japan fully supports the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which shares fundamental principles with the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP), and emphasizes that advancing cooperation in line with the principles and priority areas of cooperation of the AOIP is crucial for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

3. From the ASEAN side

In response, the ASEAN side expressed their gratitude for the support from Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea for ASEAN’s response to COVID-19 including the provision of medical supplies and vaccines, and Japan's support for the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases. Several countries expressed their expectations for the operationalization of regional medical reserves to respond to future public health crises and for further cooperation in vaccine development, production and procurement. They emphasized the importance of enhancing regional cooperation, including the early entry into force of the RCEP Agreement, to achieve a sustainable recovery from COVID-19.

4. Regional and International Issues

(1) North Korea

North Korea launched ballistic missiles this month and the peace and security of the region and international community are under threat. The full implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, including addressing “ship-to-ship transfers”, 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 asks for the continued understanding and cooperation of all countries towards the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

In response, several countries emphasized the importance of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

(2) Myanmar

Japan supports ASEAN's efforts including the Five-Point Consensus, and backs its swift implementation. Japan urges Myanmar to make a constructive response.

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