Press Releases

The 21st ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

September 9, 2020
(Photo 1) The 21st ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(Photo 2) Foreign Minister Motegi speaking at the meeting
(Photo 3) Foreign Minister Motegi and the TV screen

On September 9, from 5:55 p.m. for around one and a half hours, the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in an online format. H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and H.E. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea co-chaired the meeting. From the Japanese side, Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended.

  1. Minister Motegi followed up on the Joint Statement adopted at the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and made the following remarks, focusing on Japan’s contributions related to COVID-19 that were announced at the Summit.
    • (1) Follow Up on the Joint Statement of the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
      Japan welcomes the establishment of the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund which is aimed at procuring medical supplies and developing vaccines, among others. Japan will contribute to strengthening the capacity of ASEAN to respond to infectious diseases through supporting the Response Fund, while collaborating with China and the Republic of Korea (ROK). In addition, as Japan’s individual contribution, Japan has decided to donate one million dollars to the ASEAN Response Fund. Furthermore, Japan will contribute to creating the framework of the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX Facility), which aims to distribute vaccines fairly to all countries.

    • (2) Japan’s Contributions to COVID-19 Countermeasures
      Japan will fully support the establishment of an ASEAN Centre for emerging diseases and public health emergencies (tentative name). Also, in addition to providing medical supplies and equipment through international organizations and bilateral assistance, Japan will support ASEAN member states through COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loans and Initiative on Overseas Loan and Investment for ASEAN, with a view to revitalizing the economy of the region.

    • (3) Other ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation
      In accordance with the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan, Japan will continue to cooperate with each country in such fields as food assistance during a disaster, youth exchange programs and health promotion, including actions to address marine plastic litter.

    • (4) Import Restrictions related to the Great East Japan Earthquake
      Next year will mark the tenth year since the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, some countries still maintain import restrictions on Japanese food products. Japan would like to emphasize that the safety of Japanese foods is assured based on scientific evidence and that necessary monitoring and control measures are enforced. Japan would like to strongly urge countries concerned to promptly lift the restrictions.

    • (5) Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
      Promoting free trade based on free and fair economic rules is vital for economic growth in the region. Japan intends to continue cooperation towards signing the RCEP agreement signed by the end of the year.
  2. In response, the ASEAN foreign ministers expressed their appreciation for the assistance for responding to COVID-19 from Japan, China and the ROK, including the donations to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, and also stated that close collaboration between the ASEAN Plus Three members is vital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Regarding the regional and global affairs, in relation to North Korea, Minister Motegi stated his concern that North Korea had been steadily continuing its nuclear and missile development, despite the concerns expressed by the international community, and that it is important for the international community to support the U.S.-North Korea process. Minister Motegi also stated that the full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions is critical, including countering “ship-to-ship transfers.” In addition, Minister Motegi asked for the ASEAN Plus Three’s continued cooperation towards the early resolution of the abductions issue.
    In response, many of the foreign ministers spoke of the importance of the situation surrounding North Korea.

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