Remarks by H.E. Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan at the Seminar on Energy Security in Asia

- Examining Possible Areas of ASEAN+3 Energy Cooperation -


Mr. Robert Priddle, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency,
Dr. Ria Kemper, Secretary-General of the Energy Charter Secretariat,
Distinguished panelists from ASEAN+3 countries and esteemed speakers,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the pleasure of addressing this "Seminar on Energy Security in Asia," the purpose of which is to examine the possible areas of cooperation in the field of energy under the ASEAN+3 framework, with a view to strengthening energy security in Asia.

As is well known to the participants here, this seminar was proposed by Prime Minister Koizumi and enjoyed the support of the leaders of the ASEAN countries, China and the Republic of Korea at the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting held in Brunei Darussalam last November. The energy demand-supply structure in Asia is vulnerable and will become even more so as the demand for energy increases. Hence the growing need for better emergency preparedness and other effective measures for strengthening energy security. It was this recognition that moved Prime Minister Koizumi to propose this initiative.

It may also be true to say that the Prime Minister's proposal was received positively as more attention is being paid to the issue of energy security in the wake of the heartbreaking terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11th last year.

Diversity prevails in Asia and the energy situation is by no means an exception. Asia, a region which encompasses both net energy exporting and importing countries, has room for enhanced interdependency through increased energy trade and further cooperation in the field of energy. Asia is today experiencing a growth in the demand for energy which is outgrowing supply within the region and is thus becoming increasingly dependent on sources from the outside, particularly the Middle East. The strengthening of energy security in Asia has, therefore, become a pressing issue, and requires a joint effort involving the whole region. Japan believes that it is realistic and effective to make use of the existing ASEAN+3 framework, which comprises key countries from both Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia and which has the potential to develop further in the future.

In examining ASEAN+3 energy cooperation, we have to bear in mind that regional energy cooperation is only viable with close collaboration with countries outside the region, since ASEAN+3 countries alone are not capable of securing the stable supply of energy. Close coordination with international organizations and multilateral frameworks such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Energy Charter Secretariat, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the G8 is also instrumental in strengthening the region's energy security.

In his policy speech made in Singapore in January this year, Prime Minister Koizumi listed energy security among the issues to be addressed transnationally by the region. Addressing ASEAN nations, he proposed a community that "acts together and advances together," based on the framework of ASEAN+3 plus Australia and New Zealand, as well as on a partnership with other countries outside the region and international organizations and multilateral frameworks.

This year, among various international meetings, many important meetings on energy will be held, such as the G8 Energy Ministers Meeting in May in Detroit, the APEC Energy Ministers Meeting in July in Mexico, and the 8th International Energy Forum, also known as producer-consumer dialogue in September in Osaka. While interaction among these meetings is desirable especially on the issues of energy security, I hope that this seminar will constitute a part of that interaction by producing some useful input for these meetings.

Let me now turn to the topics of today's seminar. Today's program is a product of consultations among the ASEAN+3 countries. Discussing the international energy situation as well as the Asian energy situation will provide the participants with the background knowledge to move forward on the issue of regional cooperation on energy.

With respect to the issue of emergency preparedness, Japan and the Republic of Korea are the only countries in ASEAN+3 with a sizable emergency oil stockpile, around 160 days of oil consumption and about 90 days of net oil imports respectively. I believe that the IEA's experience in this area can provide us with invaluable know-how and insight in developing emergency preparedness in the region. Cooperation between net energy exporting and importing countries within the region should also be considered from the viewpoint of promoting regional emergency preparedness. As for mid- to long-term energy cooperation, we prepared a menu of energy infrastructure, energy efficiency and conservation, and new and renewable energy for you to digest. In addressing those issues for the purpose of energy security, we also need to consider environmental protection.

We requested Mr. Akihiko Tanaka, Professor of Tokyo University, who is one of the two Japanese members of the East Asia Vision Group, and also serving as Chairman of the Energy Security Working Group of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, to play the role of moderator of this seminar.

With leading energy experts and representative panelists from ASEAN+3 countries, I hope that by the end of the seminar there will be a common understanding on the general direction for regional cooperation on energy among the ASEAN+3 countries. If so, and I hope it will be so, it is the duty of the host of this seminar to feed that back to the ASEAN+3 process.

It is my sincere hope that this seminar will see active and positive interaction which will be useful for all of us present here.

Thank you very much and may I wish you an excellent seminar.

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