Japan-ASEAN Relations

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

On October 27, commencing at 11:30 a.m. for about one hour, Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, attended the 24th ASEAN-Japan Summit Meeting which was held via video conference and chaired by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam. An overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. Opening Remarks

Following the opening remarks of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, Prime Minister Kishida delivered his opening remarks and expressed that Japan would vigorously advance efforts to achieve a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" in cooperation with ASEAN. Especially, he expressed his intention to welcome ASEAN leaders to Japan in 2023, which marks the 50th Anniversary of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and hold a Commemorative Summit meeting to raise ASEAN-Japan relations to a new stage.

2. Support for countermeasures against the COVID-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Kishida then illustrated Japan’s assistance to ASEAN to counter COVID-19 as follows. (See Fact Sheet of Major Examples of Japan’s COVID-19 related Support towards ASEAN (PDF)Open a New Window.)

  • As countermeasures against COVID-19, Japan provided more than 16 million COVID-19 vaccines to ASEAN countries as well as approximately 296.3 million USD worth of grant aid which included the "Last One Mile Support" to improve cold chain delivery systems.
  • Strongly supporting the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, Japan provided ASEAN countries with near-interest-free financial support loans of approximately 1.8 billion USD to contribute to their economic recovery.
  • Japan fully support the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED) to become the core of regional efforts to counter communicable diseases. The training for public health officials in ASEAN countries has also been commenced.

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

Prime Minister Kishida then spoke about the AOIP as follows.

  • (1) Japan has been consistently supporting ASEAN centrality and unity and has been advancing concrete cooperation in line with the priority areas of maritime cooperation, connectivity, SDGs and economy, based on the ASEAN-Japan Joint Statement on AOIP Cooperation adopted at last year's ASEAN-Japan Summit. Japan issued a Progress Report of a total of 73 projects which included 49 cooperation projects announced at last year's Summit as well as 24 additional projects. (See the Progress Report on Japan's AOIP Cooperation (Full text (PDF)Open a New Window / Overview (PDF)Open a New Window).)
  • (2) Looking ahead towards post-COVID 19, Japan will further enhance cooperation in a wide range of areas, which will contribute to achieving the SDGs, including climate change, clean energy, healthcare such as universal health coverage and disaster prevention. Japan will also cooperate in digital transformation, quality infrastructure investment, and supply chain resilience.
  • (3) With a view to leading the international community to achieve carbon neutrality, Japan announced the "ASEAN-Japan Climate Change Action Agenda 2.0 (PDF)Open a New Window" at this Summit to promote cooperation with ASEAN countries. In addition Japan will provide comprehensive support to ASEAN countries through the formulation of roadmaps for energy transition, technical cooperation, and human resource development, including those under the Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI).
  • (4) Japan, as a strategic partner, will continue to steadily advance cooperation which contributes to enhancing the fundamental principles of openness, transparency, inclusiveness, and the rule of law as upheld in the AOIP and also shared with the FOIP.

4. From ASEAN countries

Following Prime Minister Kishida's opening remarks, ASEAN countries congratulated Prime Minister Kishida on his assuming the office and the successful hosting of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and expressed their high evaluation and appreciation for Japan’s leadership to counter COVID-19 including its provision of medical supplies including vaccines, the establishment of the ACPHEED, and financial support. They also expressed their gratitude for Japan's AOIP cooperation and their strong hope for continued close cooperation. Many countries expressed their support to Japan’s intention to hold a Commemorative Summit in Japan in 2023, which marks the 50th Anniversary of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.

5. Closing Session

After the remarks from the ASEAN countries, Prime Minister Kishida made the statement as below, noting that Japan shares many views with the ASEAN countries on regional and international affairs.

(1) East China Sea and South China Seas

It is in our common interest to make the Indo-Pacific a free, open, and peaceful sea. Japan shares serious concerns with ASEAN countries and strongly opposes challenges to a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law, with particular reference to the East and South China Seas.

ASEAN countries also mentioned the importance of freedom of navigation and flight over the South China Sea, and the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes in line with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

(2) North Korea

Prime Minister Kishida stated that North Korea launched ballistic missiles this month and that the peace and security of the region and international community is under threat. He also stated that 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. In addition, he asked for the continued understanding and cooperation of all countries toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

The participating countries also made remarks on the importance of denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula. They expressed their support for the resolution of the abductions issue.

(3) Myanmar situation

Regarding the situation in Myanmar, Japan supports ASEAN’s efforts including the “Five-Point Consensus,” and its swift implementation. Japan urged Myanmar to constructivly respond.

The countries also mentioned the importance of cooperating for the swift implementation of the "Five-Point Consensus" and humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar.

6. Concluding Remarks

Prime Minister Kishida stated his intention to continue to work closely together to ensure that the Indo-Pacific region will remain a free, open, peaceful, and prosperous region.

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