Speeches by the Prime Minister

February 25, 2021
Speeches by the Prime Minister
I am SUGA Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan.

May I respectfully offer my congratulations to the organizers on holding the 2nd Tokyo Global Dialogue.

It is my great pleasure that, as demonstrated by last month's nomination for the "2020 Think Tank of the Year" award, the Japan Institute of International Affairs has earned a high global reputation as a leading think tank in Asia.

As the world faces an unprecedented crisis presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must bring together wisdom from around the globe so that we can resolve difficult challenges one by one.

In this regard, it is extremely timely for the leading experts from various countries to gather together online to discuss the future of the Indo-Pacific.

Coupled with the heightened US-China tensions as well as unilateralism that has become prevailing in the course of responding to the pandemic, the situation in the Indo-Pacific has become increasingly uncertain.

Furthermore, the regional security environment has become even more severe, as military capability expansion lacking in transparency and unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion have continued.

I firmly believe that it is "a free and open order based on the rule of law", not "force or coercion", that will bring peace and prosperity to the region and the world.

Today, such views held by Japan enjoy broad support from the international community, including the United States, Australia, India, ASEAN, and Europe.

For instance, President Biden, who assumed office last month, has clearly expressed his commitment to achieving a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific."

Japan will closely work together with those with which we share such aspiration to strategically promote a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" through concrete efforts.

This pandemic also reminded us of the importance of international solidarity.

Placing importance on multilateralism, Japan is determined to proactively contribute to addressing various challenges facing the international community and demonstrate leadership in building a post-COVID-19 international order.

To build a more resilient economy and society based on the idea of "Build Back Better" and harness them into regional and global prosperity, we must expand a free and fair economic zone as well as maintain and strengthen the multilateral free trade system.

To this end, Japan is determined to squarely engage in efforts for WTO reform, an early conclusion of the RCEP Agreement, and the steady implementation and expansion of the TPP11.

In addition to the pandemic, new challenges are emerging given the advent of new technologies in digital and other spheres: tensions over technological supremacy, supply chains for critical products including face masks and vaccines, and cybersecurity, to name a few.

We are now accelerating reforms toward the digitalization of Japan itself. On a global footing, Japan will also lead in the rule-making efforts for "Data Free Flow with Trust."

At the same time, we will also advance efforts to ensure economic security through fostering close collaboration among the industry, government, and academia while working closely with like-minded countries.

Last but not least, I hope that through your lively discussions and strategic policy recommendations, this Dialogue will greatly contribute to international peace and prosperity in the midst of this unprecedented crisis.

Thank you.

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