Overview of Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting

The following is an overview of the summit that took place between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on November 5. After the meeting, the Joint Declaration of the Leaders of Japan and ASEAN on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership was signed.

1. Overview

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stated that Japan has been promoting the policy emphasizing ASEAN, ever since the administration of former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda. In response, the ASEAN leaders expressed gratitude for Japan's such policy toward ASEAN and in particular for Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) and for Japan's role in overcoming the Asian economic crisis. It was stated that Japan and ASEAN are in the process of building relations as partners in a new age. Prime Minister Koizumi replied that this was the same concept as his idea of "acting together - advancing together."

2. The Japan-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Partnership

(1) Prime Minister Koizumi made the following statements:

  • On the foundation of this partnership, I would like to build an economic partnership covering East Asia as a whole. The Japan-Singapore Economic Agreement for a New Age Partnership represents a leading model in this respect. I would like to follow a two-track approach under this partnership, building a framework in ASEAN as a whole and promoting bilateral efforts with ASEAN members that are ready to do so.
  • We look forward to progress by next year's Japan-ASEAN Commemorative Summit with the aim, as stated in the joint declaration, of realizing an economic partnership between Japan and ASEAN as a whole, including elements of a possible free trade area, in a speedy manner and as soon as possible within 10 years.

(2) In response, the ASEAN leaders stated that the building block approach described in the joint declaration was realistic and wise, and that the idea of beginning in areas where implementation is feasible is appropriate. They also expressed expectations for Japanese support for capacity building, etc.

3. The Initiative for Development in East Asia (IDEA) and Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI)

Prime Minister Koizumi stated that he wanted to promote a concrete follow-up to the ministerial conference on the Initiative for Development in East Asia (IDEA) held in August. In response, almost all ASEAN leaders stated that the IDEA was important for discussing the development model in Southeast Asia and for clarifying Japan's commitment to the countries of East Asia. They also expressed expectation for Japanese support for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) (Mekong sub-region development, etc.).

4. Security

Regarding the issues of the Korean Peninsula, Prime Minister Koizumi, as he stated in the summit meetings of Japan-China-ROK and ASEAN+3, reiterated that he would like to work on North Korea, in cooperation with ASEAN and the international community, to constructively engage in the international community through strenuous dialogues. The ASEAN countries praised Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to North Korea as a contribution to stability of the region.

5. Transnational Issues

Prime Minister Koizumi suggested discussions with ASEAN on multilateral treaties on transnational issues under negotiation in order to reflect the interests of Asia to the utmost in the building of a global-scale international legal order. The ASEAN countries agreed with this proposal.

6. Japan-ASEAN Exchange Year 2003

(1) Prime Minister Koizumi made the following statements:

  • Japan will launch an executive committee headed by Mr. Hiroshi Okuda, Chairman of Nippon Keidanren, and officially declare the start of the Year in January.
  • The public and private sectors in Japan will join together to undertake, among other things, exchange programmes and activities in culture and arts, political dialogue, economic exchange, intellectual exchange, and youth exchange.

(2) The ASEAN leaders made the following statements:

  • We welcome this Exchange Year and, through exchange programmes and activities, intend to strengthen relations between Japan and ASEAN.
  • Each country will make the utmost efforts in the month designated as a key coordinator country.

7. Cooperation for Education and Human Resources Development

Prime Minister Koizumi announced that Japan would implement Official Development Assistance of more than 250 billion yen over the next five years in the field of education. He also stated that the concept between Japan and Malaysia of building a technical university was under study and that he would like to realize the plan as soon as possible. Malaysia stated that the technical university would provide a place of study for ASEAN students.

8. Japan-ASEAN Commemorative Summit

Prime Minister Koizumi stated that a Japan-ASEAN Commemorative Summit would be held in Japan on December 11 and 12, 2003, and that he wanted it to be an occasion for strengthening relations in the 21st century, since he believed that cooperative relations between Japan and ASEAN would be the core for leading various regional cooperation for the stability and prosperity of East Asia.

   In response, the ASEAN leaders replied that they were looking forward to participating in the Summit. It was also suggested that the Commemorative Summit might be a good opportunity to hold an ASEAN business investment seminar.

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