(Provisional Translation)

Statement by Her Excellency Makiko Tanaka,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on the occasion of the PMC (ASEAN+Japan), July 26, 2001

July 28 2000

1. Opening remarks

   First of all, I highly appreciate Myanmar, country coordinator for Japan, in its efforts to develop Japan-ASEAN relations.

1.1 Koizumi administration's ASEAN policy

   Japan, under the current Koizumi administration, attaches great importance to the role that ASEAN plays for peace and prosperity in Asia and intends to continue its cooperation with ASEAN.

   Good relations with ASEAN constitute a great asset for Japan. ASEAN takes a 15% share of Japan's external trade and a 10% share of Japan's foreign direct investment. Over 80,000 Japanese are living in ASEAN countries. These figures show how important ASEAN countries are for Japan.

   I hope that a united and stable ASEAN continues to contribute actively to the peace and prosperity of this region and the entire world.

1.2 Situation in ASEAN

   ASEAN has expanded to include 10 countries and actually covers the entire region of Southeast Asia. Japan highly appreciates ASEAN's efforts to promote cooperation in many fields among its member countries. Japan also highly appreciates the important contribution that ASEAN brings to East Asia cooperation through such forums as ARF, ASEAN+3.

   At the same time, in Japan's view ASEAN now faces three major challenges;

1.2.1 Firstly, there are domestic difficulties troubling some member countries.
1.2.2 Secondly, there is "disparity" among member countries in terms of wealth.
1.2.3 Thirdly, as the globalization of the world economy advances and the competition in Asia intensifies, ASEAN countries themselves need to strengthen their competitiveness.

   Japan understands these challenges and intends to assist ASEAN countries in solving them. Japan has been implementing various cooperative measures, such as cooperation to the IAI (Initiative for ASEAN Integration), IT cooperation, human resources development, promotion of trade and investments between Japan and ASEAN, and cooperation to solve transnational issues.

1.3 For the reinforcement of Japan-ASEAN relations

   Japan strongly hopes to promote mutual understanding and friendly cooperation with ASEAN in various fields, including politics, economy, security, arms control, disarmament, non-proliferation, and also in social and cultural fields. We have jobs to tackle in various fields. I hope we may join forces in this respect.

2. Closing remarks

   In spite of the limited time allotted to us, I think we can have fruitful discussions today. As for comments that ASEAN countries made during this meeting, I will be taking them into consideration in the process of strengthening Japan-ASEAN relations.

   I would like to remind you that, as a "true friend" of ASEAN, Japan's new administration intends to continue its efforts for the development of ASEAN. At the same time, I would like to ask the ASEAN side to continue its efforts in various fields.

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