Japan-Central Asia Economic Forum
in the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue
For the promotion of Japan-Central Asia Economic Exchanges
Key Discussion Points

July 2011

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1. Background

In August 2010, at the Third Foreign Ministers' meeting held in Tashkent in the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue, Mr. Katsuya Okada, then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, proposed to hold a "Japan-Central Asia Economic Forum" as part of Japan's cooperation for economic development and prosperity in Central Asia (effort for expanding business opportunities). This proposal was in line with the reference "Japan is prepared to support the holding of a Central Asian business seminar within the country, if all the Central Asian countries show their interests" in the Action Plan (3. Business Promotion) adopted at the Second Foreign Ministers' Meetings held in Tokyo in June 2006 also in the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue, which commenced in 2004 at the initiative of the Japanese government.

2. Outline

At the projected Japan-Central Asia Economic Forum, discussions will be held between invited representatives of the ministries or government agencies of the five Central Asian countries in charge of economic relations with Japan and representatives of the Japanese government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, etc.), the Japanese business community and related experts in their respective fields, on possible measures for the promotion of Japan-Central Asia economic exchanges.

Unlike conventional bilateral business forums, the Japan-Central Asia Economic Forum is an attempt to expand the scope of economic exchanges between Japan and Central Asia in a multilateral framework. The results of discussions at the Forum will be compiled as a proposal for intergovernmental dialogues in the form of a "Chairperson's summary," and will be reported at the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) to be held in the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue in Tokyo in 2011 (exact date to be finalized).

3. Key Discussion Points

(1) "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue: the Japanese government's position and basic future policy

  • In the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue, Japan serves as catalyst in the process of promoting intra-regional collaboration and cooperation among Central Asian countries on common regional issues in order to realize harmonious coexistence and development; this position has not changed since the commencement of the Dialogue in 2004. The Forum will be an opportunity for its organizer, the Japanese government, which has consistently promoted cooperation via the framework of the Dialogue, to explain once again its basic intention and publicize the significance of the framework of the Dialogue to the related parties in both Japan and Central Asia, with reference to its basic future diplomatic policy for Central Asia.
  • As one of the main objectives of Japan's cooperation through the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue is developing the regional market that encompasses the entire Central Asia so as to reinforce ties with economic zones outside the region and improve the overall economic level of the regional society, the Forum will mainly discuss measures that would enable the entire Central Asian region to develop as a whole and become an attractive common market for prospective foreign investors, while the basic understanding will maintain that respective Central Asian countries can take differing approaches to economic development according to their various situations.
  • In addition, at the Forum, while introducing a range of activities conducted by the related Japanese government organizations (JICA, JBIC, NEXI, JETRO, etc.) in Central Asia, opinions will be exchanged as to how to build an environment for more effective cooperation in the future with reference to examples in other regions so that those activities can be linked with economic development for the entire Central Asian region.
  • Each participant from the Central Asian side at the Forum will be requested to present their evaluation or proposals regarding Japan's cooperation via the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue, which will be reflected in discussions so as to realize more effective cooperation in the future.

(2) Activities by Central Asian countries and their results, future cooperation via the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue and its priority areas

  • Based on the evaluation of the current status by the representatives of the Central Asian countries concerning the concrete measures conducted in their respective countries for trade and investment expansion and their results, if there are any measures that have not produced the expected results, possible causes will be discussed, with opinions from both the Japanese and Central Asian sides.
  • In addition, the presence or absence of the need for technologies (or industrial areas) in which Japan (or specific Japanese businesses) has a comparative advantage will also be discussed, to exchange information that would be useful in specifying priority or high-potential areas for future cooperation through the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue.
  • From the standpoint that it is essential to maintain the transparency and openness of information in expanding investment in Central Asia, measures that would reinforce information exchange between Japan and Central Asia will also be discussed.

(3) Activities by Japanese businesses in the areas of cooperation in the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue

  • The forum will be an opportunity to contemplate possible activities by Japanese businesses that can contribute to Central Asia's economic development, introducing activities by Japanese businesses which show significant performance in the areas of cooperation listed in the Action Plan of the Dialogue (health and medical care, environment, disaster prevention and management, energy/water, trade and investment, transport, etc.), since the Forum will be held within the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue.

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