Special ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting(Overview)
April 9, 2011
The following is an overview of the Special ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia (ASEAN Secretariat) on April 9 for approximately two hours and thirty minutes (chaired by Indonesia Foreign Minister Marty, with Foreign Minister Matsumoto of Japan). At the start of the meeting, Indonesia President Yudhoyono gave his greetings (after which he departed), and a moment of silence was observed by the meeting participants for those who suffered the recent major disaster in Japan.
1. Confirmation of Solidarity in Japan-ASEAN Relations
(1) At the start of the meeting, Foreign Minister Matsumoto expressed his appreciation to President Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Marty of the chairing country Indonesia, as well as the representatives from each of the ASEAN Member States for hosting the meeting, and conveyed gratitude on behalf of the Japanese government and people for the warm words of sympathy, donations, and other strong support from the government and people of each ASEAN Member State.
(2) Foreign Minister Matsumoto also stated that this meeting is of historic significance for lasting Japan-ASEAN relations, in the sense that it demonstrates stronger solidarity between Japan and ASEAN, and a deeper sense of community among Japan and ASEAN.
(3) Foreign Minister Matsumoto further explained that Japan is providing information to the international community with the maximum transparency regarding the nuclear power plant accidents.
(4) In addition, Foreign Minister Matsumoto expressed his conviction that Japan would overcome this unprecedented national crisis and rebuild and restore itself without fail if the encouragement of the support from other countries is combined with the strength of the Japanese citizens, whom he is proud of for the fact that they do not forget to help each other even amid major confusion.
(5) Foreign Minister Matsumoto further went on to present a message addressed to this meeting from Japanese Prime Minister Kan. The message stated that the Prime Minister appreciates the support and feeling of solidarity received from the government and people of each ASEAN Member State, that Japan is mobilizing all its available resources, including expertise from within Japan and overseas in a concerted way to bring the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant under control as soon as possible, and that the Prime Minister is determined to examine this accident thoroughly and use the lessons learned to contribute to reinforcing the international safety of nuclear power plants. The message also stated the Prime Minister's committed intention to reciprocate the warm support Japan has received from each ASEAN Member State by continuing to contribute to the development of the ASEAN Member States and his confidence that the ties between Japan and ASEAN would become even stronger as a result of this historic meeting.
(6) Representatives from each ASEAN Member state affirmed that the support from ASEAN for this Earthquake was provided in the spirit of gratitude to Japan for its generous support, which has substantially contributed to the development of each ASEAN Member State. Expectations were also expressed toward continued contributions from Japan to regional stability and development.
2. Japanese Government Response to Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Power Plant Damage
(1) Foreign Minister Matsumoto explained the current conditions of tsunami evacuees and support for displaced persons, Japan's response to the nuclear power plant accident, and the efforts being made towards recovery and reconstruction.
(2) He expressed his gratitude to each of the ASEAN Member State for their calm reactions to the nuclear power plant accident, and gave concrete explanations by stating that Japan is making utmost efforts to stabilize the situation with the advice and cooperation of the IAEA and other international organizations, that the amount of radiation in the atmosphere is gradually decreasing and has returned to a nearly normal level, and that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Health Organization (WHO), and other related international organizations have performed objective assessments stating that travel restrictions and other overreactions are unnecessary.
(3) He explained that, since the nuclear power plant issue is of particular concern to the international community as a whole, Japan intends to share the knowledge and experience learned from this accident with each ASEAN Member State and the international community with maximal transparency, in order to help reinforce the safety of nuclear power.
(4) Regarding food originating from Japan, he stated that the Japanese government is to secure the distribution of safe food by setting scientific criteria and imposing necessary shipping restrictions for affected regions, and he requested calm, rational responses based on scientific evidence, in view of the measures Japan is taking and the information it provides.
(5) He also explained that Japan is making every effort to put the economy back onto a solid recovery path, and that the aim for medium- to long-term reconstruction is to surpass mere return to the country's former state, but to advance a reconstruction plan that entails creating a truly better Tohoku region and better Japan.
(6) In response to these explanations, each ASEAN Member State expressed its gratitude for the detailed explanations, stated that they had clearly understood the resolve of the Japanese government toward reconstruction from the recent major disaster and the steps it is taking, and stated that they intended to continue handling the situation calmly.
3. Japan's Foreign Policy for ASEAN Going Forward (Strengthening of Cooperation on Disaster Management)
(1) Foreign Minister Matsumoto proposed further strengthening of cooperation in the area of disaster management between Japan and ASEAN in light of the current major Earthquake, as Japan's foreign policy for ASEAN going forward.
(2) Specifically, he proposed, first of all to holding a seminar during this year, if possible, with a view to sharing the experience and lessons learned from the Earthquake and bringing about concrete results; second, to promote support for the improvement of communication facilities and stockpile systems as well as the dispatch of personnel from the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center); and third, to conducting training in order to develop the capacity of the rescue teams and to hold a DiREx periodically.
(3) Moreover, he emphasized Japan's policy to proactively support efforts toward the building of the ASEAN Community by 2015, and Japan's unwavering policy to contribute to the strengthening of ASEAN Connectivity through cooperation between the public and private sector.
(4) In response, each ASEAN Member State highly appreciated Japan's policy of extending further cooperation in fully utilizing this recent experience to enhance disaster response capabilities in ASEAN, where disasters frequently occur. They also lauded Japan's unwavering foreign policy for ASEAN and Japan's policy of continuing to support the development of the ASEAN Community.
4. Chairman's Statement
After the meeting, the Chairman's Statement was issued from the chair country Indonesia for this Special ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting.
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