Diplomatic Bluebook 2015
Japan’s Foreign Policy that Takes a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map
6.Regional and Inter-Regional Cooperation
Amid the ever-changing strategic environment of the Asia–Oceania region, achieving peace and prosperity in the region is one of Japan’s most crucial policy issues. From this perspective, Japan places a high priority on working with its neighbors to create a regional community underpinned by rules that comply with international law and a free, open, and close-knit regional economy, making use of various regional cooperative frameworks, including Japan–ASEAN, EAS, ASEAN+3, and APEC, while maintaining the Japan–U.S. Alliance as the cornerstone of its foreign policy.
(1) The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
ASEAN is making steady progress toward integration by such means as narrowing gaps within the region, ahead of the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015. In addition, multi-layered East Asian regional cooperation centered on ASEAN is developing through such frameworks as the EAS. On the economic front, as well as the establishment of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), a network of free trade agreements (FTAs) with ASEAN at its core is being created through the conclusion of FTAs with Japan, China, the ROK, and India, among others. Comprehensive and high-level negotiations concerning a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have been underway since 2013 and participants are aiming for their completion by the end of 2015.
ASEAN accounts for approximately 8.6% of the world’s population. Although its GDP is approximately 3.2% of the global total, it has achieved high economic growth rates over the last decade. As its political and economic importance as the world’s growth center increases, other countries are proactively embarking on efforts to enhance relations with ASEAN.
With regard to issues concerning the South China Sea, tensions in the area have heightened as a result of confrontation between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in May 2014, triggered by China’s establishment of oil rigs in the maritime area close to the Paracel Islands. In response, “serious concerns” over the situation in the South China Sea were expressed at the ASEAN Summit Meeting and Foreign Ministers’ Meetings in May, with members indicating their intention to take a unified stand in addressing the issue. There have been several rounds of consultations between China and ASEAN, with a view to formulating a code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, but despite some progress, including an agreement to set up a hotline between China and ASEAN and to conduct a tabletop exercise concerning rescue at sea, there is no prospect of a final agreement as yet. Moreover, the Philippines has initiated arbitration proceedings under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and is exploring ways to settle a dispute peacefully, under international law. Maintaining and enhancing the unity of ASEAN is vital to the stability and prosperity of the region, so greater support on the part of Japan and other countries outside ASEAN is required.
(2) Japan–ASEAN Relations
ASEAN is the motive force behind a variety of regional cooperation initiatives underway in East Asia, so achieving a more stable and prosperous ASEAN is absolutely essential to the stability and prosperity of the region as a whole. Based on this recognition, Japan has announced that it will actively support efforts to establish the ASEAN Community in 2015 and to achieve even deeper integration thereafter, while steadily implementing the Vision Statement on ASEAN–Japan Friendship and Cooperation and the Joint Statement that were both adopted at the 2013 ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting.
Having reached new heights following the 2013 Commemorative Summit Meeting, Japan–ASEAN relations were further enhanced in the following four fields set out in the Vision Statement, through such meetings as the Japan–ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (in Naypyidaw, Myanmar) in August 2014, as well as the 17th Japan–ASEAN Summit Meeting (in Naypyidaw, Myanmar) in November that year.
In relation to “Partners for Peace and Stability” (covering the field of politics and security), Prime Minister Abe explained to ASEAN Japan’s initiatives from the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, including the Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation. Many of the ASEAN member countries welcomed this initiative. Moreover, the first Japan–ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Round Table Meeting was held in 2014 (in Bagan, Myanmar). With regard to maritime cooperation, Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan will continue to cooperate in such areas as Japan–ASEAN joint exercises, human resource development, and safety of navigation, and announced that Japan will support capacity building in the area of maritime security and safety for around 700 personnel over the next three years. Furthermore, the ASEAN–Japan Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat Terrorism and Transnational Crime was adopted and the participants agreed to further promote cooperation in this field.
In relation to “Partners for Prosperity” (covering the field of economics and economic cooperation), Prime Minister Abe said that, through ODA and JAIF 2.05, Japan will continue to support the establishment of the ASEAN Community, including support for enhancing ASEAN Connectivity6 and narrowing gaps within the region. In addition, he announced that Japan will promote “people-centered investment” in order to enhance support for high-quality infrastructure development in ASEAN. Moreover, consultations between the relevant authorities commenced concerning the Japan–ASEAN Air Services Agreement.
In terms of “Partners for Quality of Life” (covering the field of new economic and social issues), Prime Minister Abe announced that as part of the ASEAN–Japan Health Initiative, Japan aims to support human resource development for 8,000 people over the next five years, in order to promote health, prevent illness, and improve the standard of medical care. In addition, Japan will continue to promote the Package for Strengthening ASEAN–Japan Disaster Management Cooperation, including support provided via the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA CENTRE).
With regard to “Heart-to-Heart Partners” (covering the field of people-to-people exchanges), Japan is steadily implementing a variety of exchange and assistance programs in ASEAN, via such initiatives as JENESYS 2.07, the WA Project8, and Sport for Tomorrow9.
- 5 Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan would contribute 100 million US dollars to the Japan–ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), to support activities as part of the Vision Statement and Implementation Plan adopted at the 2013 ASEAN–Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting.
- 6 An ASEAN initiative aimed at the development of cross-border infrastructure, such as railways and roads, and the standardization of customs procedures and other institutional aspects, in order to facilitate distribution and the movement of people, thereby increasing economic unity within the region.
- 7 JENESYS2.0 is a youth exchange program which involves approximately 30,000 youth from the Asian and Oceanian region. This program was implemented in March 2013 in order to revitalize the Japanese economy by promoting potential interests towards Japan, increasing visitors to Japan, and at the same time, promoting global understanding on Japan’s strengths and attractions as well as Japanese values, including Cool Japan.
- 8 A project being implemented between 2014 and 2020, which will involve more than 1,000 artists and cultural experts in dialogue and exchange programs, as well as sending more than 3,000 Japanese Language Partners to ASEAN nations to assist local educators in supporting those studying the Japanese language.
- 9 An initiative designed to promote the value of sport and promote the Olympic Movement to people of all ages – especially the young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow – to achieve a better future worldwide, targeting more than 10 million people in more than 100 countries, including developing countries, over the seven years from 2014 to 2020.
The Mekong region, etc.
Economic development in the Mekong region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam) is vital to the stability and prosperity of the ASEAN region as a whole, as it will help to narrow regional development gap and promote regional integration. In recent years, the Mekong region has been achieving remarkable growth, as infrastructure development has been progressing and economic activity has flourished, but the regional development gap remains a challenge.
Japan regards the Mekong region as a priority area for economic cooperation, it is striving to (1) enhance connectivity, (2) achieve economic development, and (3) ensure human security and environmental sustainability based on the “Tokyo Strategy 2012” for Mekong-Japan Cooperation. In 2014, the Seventh Mekong–Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Sixth Mekong–Japan Summit Meeting were held in Myanmar in August and November respectively. At these meetings, the leaders discussed the progress of Mekong–Japan cooperation and the direction that it should take in future, and agreed to hold the next summit meeting in Tokyo in July 2015.
Since many international organizations and countries are supporting the Mekong region coordination among donors is vital in order to ensure greater efficiency. As well as participating in the Friends of Lower Mekong (FLM) meetings led by the U.S., Japan is collaborating with the OECD’s Southeast Asia Regional Programme. Moreover, in December, the Fifth Meeting of the Japan–China Policy Dialogue on the Mekong Region was held in Beijing in December 2014, the first time in three years, and both sides exchanged views concerning their cooperative endeavors in the Mekong region.
(3) The East Asia Summit (EAS) (Participating Countries: 10 ASEAN Nations + Japan, China, the ROK, Australia, New Zealand, India, the U.S., and Russia)
Launched in 2005, the EAS is an important regional forum, with its objectives are to facilitate candid dialogue among leaders on issues of importance to the region and the international community, and to use the leadership of the participating heads of governments to advance specific cooperative initiatives targeting issues of common concern in the region. Along with the 18 participating countries, many other democratic nations take part in the EAS as partner countries. It is expected that it will contribute to share fundamental values within the region, including democracy and the rule of law, as well as to help strengthen international rules concerning trade and investment.
The year 2015 will mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the EAS. To date, Japan has proposed that (1) the EAS should be strengthened as the region’s premier forum; (2) the 2015 meeting, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the EAS, should be regarded as a commemorative summit, in order to expand its focus on political and security issues and further reinforce the organization; and (3) the secretariat function of the EAS should be strengthened.
At the EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar) held in August, participants discussed cooperation within the EAS, as well as regional and international situations, including the South China Sea and North Korea. As well as setting out Japan’s stance on the South China Sea and North Korea, Foreign Minister Kishida explained Japan’s initiatives and ideas in regard to strengthening the EAS, maritime cooperation, low-carbon growth and disaster management. He stated that the South China Sea issue is a matter of concern to the international community as a whole, as it is directly linked to the peace and stability of the region. Moreover, he expressed his hopes for a peaceful resolution, based on the “Three Principles on the Rule of Law at Sea”10 set out by Prime Minister Abe at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Regarding North Korea, Minister Kishida stated that Japan’s policy of aiming for a comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues remains unchanged.
At the 9th EAS, held in Nay Pyi Taw in November, participants discussed EAS initiatives, as well as regional and international situations. While advancing Japan’s proposals concerning the strengthening of the EAS, Prime Minister Abe stated that EAS should tackle urgent issues, namely ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) (for further details, see Focus on page 20) and Ebola hemorrhagic fever, in order to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region and the rest of the world. Regarding maritime security, he pointed out the necessity of maintaining and strengthening maritime order at sea based on the “Three Principles of the Rule of Law at Sea”, and expressed his appreciation for convening of the Third Meeting of the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF). In addition, he explained that Japan would contribute to improving energy efficiency worldwide by ensuring that thermal power generation, which remains a key power source, becomes as efficient and low-carbon as possible. Furthermore, he stated that Japan would promote public-private partnerships in order to meet Asia’s infrastructure demand and would achieve high-quality growth by implementing people-centered investment. Regarding the regional and international situation, Prime Minister Abe first of all announced that in the first half of 2014, Japan would hold a High-Level Seminar on Peacebuilding, National Reconciliation and Democratization in Asia, as part of its “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. As for the South China Sea issue, he stated that Japan endorses actions based on the “Three Principles on the Rule of Law at Sea,” and from this perspective, Japan strongly expected that the 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC)11 would be fully implemented and that discussions concerning the Code of Conduct (COC) would be concluded promptly. Moreover, he noted that unilateral actions are continuing in the South China Sea, which are concerned by many countries, and emphasized that in under limited waters, coastal nations must honor the principle – established in international law – that they are required to exercise self-restraint not to undertake unilateral actions that would cause a permanent physical change to the marine environment. Describing North Korea’s nuclear, missile and proliferation activities as a real threat, Prime Minister Abe emphasized that proliferation activities through Southeast Asia should not be permitted, and that it is extremely important for the international society to solidly implement the UN Security Council resolutions, including on export controls, and to show a consistent and resolute position of not permitting North Korea to possess nuclear capabilities.
- 10 The three principles set out in Prime Minister Abe’s keynote address at the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue (in Singapore) in May 2014, namely (1) that states should make and clarify their claims based on international law; (2) that states should not use force or coercion in trying to drive their claims; and (3) that states should seek to settle disputes by peaceful means.
- 11 The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was announced at the 2002 ASEAN–China Summit (in Cambodia). In this declaration setting out the broad principles for resolving problems in the South China Sea, the parties:
- (1) Reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and other universally recognized principles of international law;
- (2) Reaffirmed their respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea;
- (3) Undertook to resolve territorial disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with the principles of international law;
- (4) Reaffirmed that the adoption of a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea would further promote peace and stability in the region, and agreed to work towards the attainment of this objective.
The Asian financial crisis was the direct catalyst for the launch of ASEAN+3, with the first ASEAN+3 Summit taking place in 1997. It currently covers cooperation in 24 fields, including finance, agriculture and food, education, culture, tourism, public health, energy, and the environment. Covering an important region that accounts for approximately a quarter of the world’s GDP, ASEAN+3 is positioned as a framework that not only supports ASEAN integration with a view to bringing the ASEAN Community to fruition, but will also contribute to the building of an East Asian Community as a long-term goal.
In 2014, following the adoption of the ASEAN+3 Cooperation Work Plan (2013–17) at the 2013 Summit, ASEAN+3 members engaged in deeper cooperation based on the plan. There was particular progress with functional cooperation in a wide range of fields, including the signing of the Agreement Establishing ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO)12 and the provision of rice under the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Agreement. Moreover, as well as government initiatives, representatives of think-tanks and industrial sectors organized meetings.
At the 15th ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (in Nay Pyi Taw) in August 2014, Foreign Minister Kishida talked about progress with functional cooperation in such areas as financial cooperation and food security, and stated that RCEP negotiations should be concluded by the end of 2015. Moreover, as well as stating that he wanted to strengthen forward-looking trilateral cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK, he pointed out that North Korea’s nuclear activities and missile development constitute a threat to the international community. In addition, he requested the cooperation of the other countries in relation to the abduction issue.
At the 17th ASEAN+3 Summit (in Nay Pyi Taw), which took place in November, the assembled national leaders discussed the direction of functional cooperation and the regional and international issues. In particular, in the field of financial cooperation, they discussed the need to ensure that the AMRO enters into force promptly, as well as the reinforcement of the financial safety net resulting from the strengthening of the functions of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM)13. Prime Minister Abe (1) explained Japan’s contributions to date in such areas as providing rice assistance to Laos and the Philippines, and efforts to ensure mobility and quality assurance in higher education, as well as its involvement in financial cooperation; and (2) stated that, based on the recommendations from private sector experts made in the East Asia Vision Group II report, Japan would make contributions in such areas as cooperation in the field of higher education and the improvement of public health services. Furthermore, he requested the relaxing and lifting of restrictions on imports from Japan.
Regarding the international and regional situations, Prime Minister Abe requested the understanding and cooperation of the other countries in relation to North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues as well as the abductions issue.
- 12 An international organization that conducts regional economic and financial surveillance and analysis to facilitate the economic stabilization of the ASEAN+3 region, as well as supporting the implementation of the Chiang Mai Initiative (Footnote 13).
- 13 A framework used where countries are unable to repay loans in foreign currency, in order to prevent a chain of financial crises expanding throughout the region. Under this framework, currency swaps are used to provide short-term loans in U.S. dollars that are then paid back in local currency.
(5) Japan–China–ROK Trilateral Cooperation
Trilateral cooperation among Japan, China and ROK continues to play an important role in promoting exchange and mutual understanding among the three countries that enjoy geographical proximity and share historical ties. Furthermore, as economies that play a major role in the world economy and serve as the motive force driving the prosperity of the East Asian region, trilateral cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK continues to be vital in efforts to tackle various issues in the international community. To this end, trilateral cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK has been promoted in a wide range of fields to date. In 2014, as well as ministerial meetings in the fields of the environment, logistics, public health, and culture, steady progress continued to be seen in areas of practical cooperation, with a trilateral tabletop exercise in disaster prevention and a trilateral cyber security meeting taking place, as well as the 5th round of negotiations on a FTA among Japan, China and the ROK. In addition, a trilateral senior Foreign Affairs Officials’ Consultation was held in September, hosted by the ROK.
At the ASEAN+3 Summit in Myanmar in November, Prime Minister Abe said that he would like to see a Japan–China–ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting taking place as promptly as possible leading to a Trilateral summit, as neither meeting had been held since 2012. In light of these developments, it is anticipated that trilateral cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK will be promoted further.
(6) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Consisting of 21 countries and regions (economies), including those in the Asia–Oceania region, APEC promotes regional economic integration and intra-regional cooperation among the member economies on a voluntary basis. The Asia-Pacific region is positioned as the world’s growth center, so strengthening cooperation and relationships of trust in the economic realm in this region is absolutely crucial if Japan is to achieve further development.
At the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which was held in Beijing and chaired by China, discussions took place concerning three priority areas: advancing regional economic integration; promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth; and strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development. At the meeting, the Beijing Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of the FTAAP (Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific) was formulated and an agreement was reached concerning the APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015–2025, which sets out concrete actions for enhancing connectivity in the APEC region by 2025 (for further details, see Chapter 3, Section 3. 3 Participation in International Standard-Setting Activities (4) Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)).
(7) The Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM)
Since its establishment in 1996 as the only forum for deepening dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe, ASEM has addressed political, economic, and cultural issues through summits and ministerial meetings.
With Croatia and Kazakhstan taking part for the first time, the 10th ASEM Summit, which was held in Milan (Italy) in October 2014, brought together the leaders of 51 Asian and European countries and 2 organizations under one roof to discuss economic and financial issues, global challenges, and international and regional situations.
At the summit, Prime Minister Abe explained that both economic and fiscal reform is essential in order for Asia and Europe to become engines driving the global economy, and describes the steady results being achieved in Japan via the “three arrows” policy. In addition, he announced that Japan would make further contributions to tackling global challenges, such as disaster risk reduction and climate change. Furthermore, referring to cooperation with Asia and Europe based on Japan’s policy of making a “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” he explained Japan’s thinking and stances on the North Korea issue and maritime security. The Chair Statement issued at the summit explicitly referred to “maritime security” and “the abduction issue” for the first time.
In addition, the 11th Finance Ministers’ Meeting was held in Italy in September; based on the theme “A New Strategic Alliance to Create Sustainable and Profitable Growth,” ministers discussed the prospects for the economies of Asia and Europe, as well as the role of regional financial arrangements14, among other matters. In October, the 6th Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held in the Netherlands; focusing on the theme of creative industries, participants exchanged opinions concerning topics that included initiatives by each country and the cultivation of creative industries.
In addition, a conference on disaster risk reduction was held within the ASEM framework in the Philippines in June; as co-host, Japan’s contributions included assisting with the preparation of the document summarizing the outcomes.
- 14 Frameworks such as the Chiang Mai Initiative (Footnote 13), aimed at swiftly and effectively addressing any sudden financial instability that could occur.
(8) The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC15)
The significance and importance of SAARC is being looked at afresh from the perspective of regional connectivity. In November 2014, the first SAARC Summit for three years was held in Kathmandu (Nepal), and the Kathmandu Declaration was adopted. The declaration advocates deepening regional integration for peace, stability, and prosperity in South Asia by strengthening cooperation in fields such as trade, investment, finance, energy, and security. Attending the summit as an observer, Japan announced that it will continue to contribute to the enhancement of integration and connectivity within the SAARC region. Japan has participated in SAARC as an observer since 2007 and is endeavoring to strengthen relations with the body via cooperation encompassing a wide range of fields. Japan has made a particular contribution to energy cooperation within the region, holding seven energy symposiums to date.
- 15 A comparatively loose regional cooperative framework involving South Asian nations. The region has a total population of approximately 1.6 billion and GDP totaling around US$2 trillion. The eight member countries are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Afghanistan. In addition, Japan, China, the U.S., the ROK, Iran, Mauritius, the EU, Australia, and Myanmar take part as observers. The SAARC Charter stipulates that the objectives of SAARC are to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to accelerate economic, social, and cultural development through cooperation. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu (Nepal).
1．Asian Efforts towards National Reconciliation and Dispute Resolution
Under the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, Japan deploys a proactive diplomacy towards peace, stability and prosperity of, not only Japan, but also the Asia-Pacific region and the international community. Particularly, in the Asian region, Japan proactively contributes to the national reconciliation and democratization of Myanmar, the peace in Mindanao, in the Philippines, the peace in Sri Lanka, etc. This article will feature the part of this contribution.
<Support toward reconciliation with ethnic minorities in Myanmar>
Making reconciliation with the ethnic minorities groups, a concern since the independence of the country, is essential to development of Myanmar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA), along with Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar, is supporting the dialogue and trust-building between Myanmar’s government and the ethnic minorities that haven’t reached a cease-fire agreement yet. In order to consolidate peace in Myanmar, MOFA, through a support to ethnic minorities around 10 billion yen over five years announced in 2014, etc., is implementing supporting measures, according to the stage of the peace-building process, aiming the achievement of national reconciliation in Myanmar and welfare improvement in conflict-affected areas.
The consolidation of democracy is essential to make progress in national reconciliation. MOFA is backing democratic reforms being implemented by the government of Myanmar, through support to the media, improvement of the Civil Service competence, legislation development, etc.
<Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka>
Since independence, as ethnic conflicts escalating, Sri Lanka had been undergoing a civil war for almost 26 years since 1983 between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an antigovernment armed group calling for separate and independent state in the northern and eastern regions. In 2009, the government armed forces have neutralized LTTE and the civil war ended. However, the country is now facing an extremely important period in which it must deal with national reconciliation, including every ethnic and religious group toward the consolidation of peace.
Since the government of Japan has appointed Mr. Akashi Yasushi, the former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, as a Representative of the Government of Japan in order to contribute to the consolidation of peace in Sri Lanka on the occasion of the cease-fire agreement of 2002, the country has participated proactively in peace process, by facilitating peace negotiations and holding Reconstruction and Development Conferences. After the end of the civil war in 2009, aiming perpetual peace and sustainable development, while taking into consideration the balance between ethnic groups, Japan continues backing up efforts to achieve national reconciliation in Sri Lanka, through a comprehensive support, including handling of humanitarian needs such as supports to resettlement of internally displaced persons and mine-clearing activity, and improvement of infrastructure in conflict-affected regions.
2．In the Future
In this way, under the policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, Japan is making efforts to share universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and also to realize the human security1. Japan intends to continue proactively supporting efforts towards national reconciliation and dispute resolution in Asia.
- 1 Approach according to which, we should focus on each individual, and encourage the sustainable individual self-reliance and social development through protection and empowerment, in order to protect the people from broad and serious to survival, daily life and dignity and to realize their rich potentials.