The Major Issues raised in the 1st meeting of
the ASEAN+3 Study Group
on Facilitation and Promotion of Exchange of People
and Human Resources Development
(May 6-7, 2003, Tokyo)

May 7, 2003
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

(This summary was made under the responsibility of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.)

1. Necessity of Facilitation and Promotion of Exchange of People and Human Resources Development

1.1. The Group confirmed the common view that ASEAN+3 countries should further facilitate and promote exchange of people and human resource development. Following explanations were made as to reasons for such views.

  • Necessity of building an "East Asian community" that will address the region's future challenges and advance mutual understanding and trust, as proposed by the East Asia Vision Group in their report submitted to the ASEAN Summit in October, 2001. Exchange of people is really necessary in order to strengthen a sense of community in the region.
  • There is an economic opportunity for both sending country and receiving country of labor forces.
  • HRD contributes to the economic development of the region, and it is especially necessary for the developing countries in the region. To promote HRD, it is important to make the most of the existing schemes such as ASEAN Foundation.
  • HRD will be expedited by exchange of people (study abroad, transfer of know-how, etc)
  • Exchange of people will also be supported and promoted by HRD (qualified people will find opportunity to study/work abroad)

1.2. The Group shared the common view that exchange of people, including the following area, should be further encouraged.

  • government officials
  • civil society, NGOs
  • business, enterprises
  • students, researchers
  • think tanks, institutes
  • tourists
  • culture, art
  • mass media, journalists
  • professional services (lawyers, accountants, etc)
  • those who are engaged in international cooperation
  • retired, but still active people ("silver volunteer")

2. Challenges for Facilitation and Promotion of Exchange of People and Human Resource Development

The Group identified following items as challenges for facilitation and promotion of exchange of people and HRD.

2.1. Institutional and regulatory aspect

  • Complex/Time taking un-transparent procedures for entry/stay to/in foreign country
  • Difficulties to get eligibility or qualification for study/work (in foreign country)
  • Difficulties to get academic/professional credit/certificate (in foreign country)
  • How to deal with increasing flow of both skilled and unskilled labor forces.

2.2. Economic aspect

  • Secure enough financial resources to study/get training (abroad)
  • Secure active business activities (of foreign companies), which are beneficial for HRD (training, job opportunities, etc)
  • Need to bridge the economic gap

2.3. Social and cultural aspect

  • Difficulties to accept foreign residents in the society
  • Language barrier/communication problems
  • Impact of demographic change

2.4. Capacities for people

  • Difficulties to get proper education within the country
  • Difficulties to study abroad, because of lack of qualification
  • Difficulties to get enough qualifications to work abroad
  • To adapt to the life-style in foreign countries
  • Need to bridge the gap in capacities of people

2.5. Others

  • Crimes accompanies with movement of people
  • Security concerns

3. Measures to Facilitate and Promote Exchange of People and Human Resource Development

The views are expressed in the Group that the following measures could be taken in order to facilitate and promote exchange of people and HRD.

3.1. To create favorable institutional and regulatory environment, by

  • Multilateral approach (active participation in WTO GATS negotiations for successful conclusion)
  • Regional approach (ASEAN cooperation, APEC Business Travel Card, mutual recognition of qualification (APEC Engineer), credit transfer system as well as rating class system, etc)
  • Bilateral approach (quota for foreign workers (FTA), arrangement of insurance, temporary visa (working holiday), etc)
  • Asia E-learning Initiative by Japan (invite trained foreign workers)
  • Unilateral approach (improve transparency, etc)
  • Study and share best practices (creating "Centers of Excellence")

3.2. To create favorable economic environment, by

  • Taking measures to attract FDI
  • Developing tourism industry (In this regard, positively appreciate work of Japan-ASEAN Center)
  • Strengthening linkage between academic and business activities

3.3. To create favorable social and cultural environment, by

  • Deepening mutual understanding on the foreign society and culture (organizing seminar, workshop, events, etc)
  • Encouraging study of English as well as mother language
  • Twining cities
  • Maintaining the diversity of the region
  • Encouraging the mind-set of a community

3.4. To strengthen capacity of people, by

  • Putting high priority to HRD in national policy/international cooperation
  • Encouraging fellowship/internship program in national policy/international cooperation
  • Putting more resources to capacity building activities in national policy/international cooperation (encourage programs by Education Ministry of Japan, JICA, KOICA, etc)
  • Fully utilizing existing mechanism such as industrial training (In Japan (JITCO) and Korea)
  • Facilitating people to get proper qualification for study/work (abroad)
  • Modernizing education system, using ICT (E-learning)
  • Developing life-long education
  • Supporting people (students, scholars, etc) to adapt to the life-style in foreign countries
  • Securing gender equality in the educational level, encourage activities of organization (ex. NGOs) to support
  • Promoting academic cooperation (common University certificate (MBA), network of academic institutions, twining of educational institutions (sister school), establishing ASEAN+3 University, etc)
  • Giving proper education of English, as well as local language
  • Commending/Awarding excellent Asian companies for HRD activities
  • Giving favorable conditions for students/scholars to study/research abroad
  • Creating new Fund

3.5. To avoid negative impact, by

  • Combating organized crimes
  • Innovating new technology to suppress forged passport
  • Cooperating to suppress illegal selling of certificate for eligibility for entrance to universities
  • Cooperating to suppress illegal workers
  • Coping with brain drain (providing favorable conditions to students/technicians/researchers in foreign countries so to encourage their returns to their home countries)

3.6. To build up a sense of community, by

  • Creation of associations of professionals (lawyers, medical services, teachers, professionals with high-risk etc)
  • Creation of joint Peace Corps
  • Creation of reconstruction organization for natural disaster
  • Creation of joint Red Cross/hospitals
  • Organization of cultural events, festivals
  • Campaign by mass media

List of Participants for First Meeting
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