The Fourth Tokyo Dialogue
(Theme: Future Improvements to Logistics Infrastructure in the Central Asia Region)
The Issue Paper

February, 2010

Russian [PDF]

1. The Tokyo Dialogue within the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue

The "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue, launched in 2004 under the initiative of the Japanese government, is a framework for multilateral dialogue and cooperation between the Central Asian countries and Japan, with political dialogue, intra-regional cooperation, business promotion, intellectual dialogue, and cultural and people-to-people exchange as its five pillars. The Tokyo Dialogue corresponds to intellectual dialogue and is held at a so-called "Track II diplomacy" level, in which the main members consist of Japanese and Central Asian intellectuals, with government officials participating in a personal capacity. The dialogue is aimed at expanding the scope of intellectual exchange between Japan and Central Asia, and at generating suggestions for dialogues among governments. Specifically, the results of the discussions are summarized as a policy proposal in the forms of the Chairperson's summary, reported at the inter-governmental meetings on the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue, and are envisioned to be linked with practical matters.

In this fourth dialogue, a discussion will be held on the theme "Future Improvements to Logistics Infrastructure in the Central Asia Region" as indicated in section 2 below.

(For reference)

First Tokyo Dialogue in March 2006:
"Prospects for Regional Integration in Central Asia" and "Relations between Central Asia and Countries outside the Region"

Second Tokyo Dialogue in January 2007:
"Prospects for Regional Cooperation in Central Asia on Water Resources and Electric Power" and "Prospects for Diversification of Central Asia's Energy Supply Routes"

Third Tokyo Dialogue in February 2009:
"The Environment" ("Environmental Cooperation for Soil Protection in Central Asia" and "The Effects of Climate Change on the Environment in Central Asia and Countermeasures")

2. The Theme "Future Improvements to Logistics Infrastructure in the Central Asia Region" in the Fourth Tokyo Dialogue

(1) To ensure the long-term, self-sustaining development and prosperity of landlocked Central Asia, the Japanese government has designated the area of transportation as an intensive aid item for intra-regional cooperation in the action plan adopted at the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue / Second Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and has otherwise come to emphasize the promotion of cooperation within the region in this area, with the recognition not only that each country will systematically upgrade its roads, railways, seaports, airports, and other infrastructure going forward, but also that appropriate intra-regional cooperation toward development of the region as a whole is essential. Furthermore, effecting integration today with the global economy by upgrading the entire region's logistics network and securing access to markets outside the region is a major challenge shared by countries in the region as they promote investment and trade relationships with Japan and other foreign countries.

(2) On the other hand, in tackling these issues it is indispensable for each country in the region to have a perspective as to what extent its own government's development strategy and goals-formulated independently based on various factors such as its geographical environment, the size of the country's economy and market, the prioritization policy in its political measures, and conditions of the country's security-can be linked to the development and benefit for the Central Asia region as a whole, and how much cooperation can be supplied by each country to efficiently improve the traffic and transportation network of the entire region. Therefore, in discussing this theme at the upcoming Tokyo Dialogue, announcements and suggestions on the future ideal form of cooperation in the relevant areas will be sought from the perspective of cooperation oriented consistently toward promotion of "intra-regional cooperation" going forward and of securing beneficial effects for the region as a whole, while basing discussion on the current status of and future prospects for improvements to the logistics infrastructure in light of each country's development strategy.

(3) Also, since the difference in policies among the countries on border control and trading systems is a factor hindering the streamlining of logistics within the region, it will be extremely fruitful to shape a foundation for further discussion by exchanging concrete views on the necessity of intra-regional cooperation from each country's perspective, as well as the each country's efforts toward harmonization of policy with other countries in the region and policy prescriptions for difficulties that arise in that vein, from the aspects of the construction of a common regional economic and trade system (simplification of customs procedures, etc.) and the enhancement of logistics-related information and communications networks.

(4) Moreover, it is envisioned that recommendations toward practical cooperation going forward will be arrived at through discussion and sharing of views among experts concerning cooperative projects already begun through Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and other regional frameworks, as well as the potential for future cooperation via existing regional entities-namely the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC).

3. Major Points of Discussion (tentative)

(1) Each Country's Strategy, Current Status, and Challenges in the Area of Improvements to Logistics Infrastructure

  • Each country's long-term strategy, challenges, and targets concerning improvements to logistics infrastructure
  • Each country's concrete plans for improvement of logistics infrastructure in light of the above
  • The effectiveness of relevant efforts, points requiring improvement, and substantive barriers (if any) from the regional perspective
  • Transportation methods and routes that should be prioritized for improvement, and markets in extra-regional countries and regions that should be modeled

(2) Challenges and Prospects of Interregional Cooperation

  • Existing efforts among several countries or the "region" toward improvement of the logistics network
  • The effectiveness of relevant efforts, points requiring improvement, and substantive barriers (if any) from a long-term perspective
  • The significance of individual projects implemented by international organizations, and their problems (if any)
  • Cooperation through the framework of existing regional organizations (SCO, EAEC, etc.), and future prospects

(3) The Ideal Form of Cooperation from Japan

  • The expectations of each country for cooperation from Japan, and the beneficial effects on the region to arise from such cooperation
  • Priorities from the regional perspective, and the roles that Japan can fulfill

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