Policies of the Japanese Government Regarding the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation

1. Our Basic Policies Regarding the Forum

The Japanese government fully supports the objective of this forum which is to promote the better understanding, political and economic dialogue and cooperation in all areas so as to achieve more effective and fruitful relations and closer cooperation between the two regions. As the framework document of this forum, the Japanese government also supports the idea that the forum should take multidisciplinary approach, thus covering the various areas such as economy, social issues, science and technology, culture, sport, tourism, people-to-people exchanges, etc.

2. Our Policies Regarding the Working Groups

Since the establishment of the forum, cooperation between the two regions was limited mainly to national projects proposed and implemented by individual countries. In such context, the Japanese government recognized the importance of implementation of forum-wide projects as the next step to improving cooperation between the two regions. In the First Ministerial Meeting held in Chile last year, our representatives proposed the establishment of working groups with the aim of formulating specific projects that can be implemented within the framework of the forum. As a result, three working groups were established, and Japan and Peru agreed to become co-chairs of "Economy and Society" Working Group.

3. Our Activities Regarding the "Economy and Society" Working Group

The objective of this working group is to search for the common challenges in the socio-economic fields which lie between the two regions, analyze the current situations and draw up concrete proposals concerning the possible measures for the strengthening the relationship between the two regions. Last March, Japan hosted the first working group, which focused on four specific areas: "Institution and Governance," "Economic Development and the Poverty," "Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises," and "IT Revolution and Developing Countries." Japan and Peru are planning to hold the second working group before the Second Ministerial Meeting to be held in 2003 in the Philippines.
    In the first working group, analysis was made on the current situations that exist in the economic and social fields of both regions, and a preliminary report which will be reported to the Fourth Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM4) scheduled next november is now being drafted.
    In the second working group, taking into account the results of the analysis made in the first working group, the participating members will try to draw a final report which will include specific policy-oriented proposals. The report, then, will be submitted to the Second Ministerial Meeting scheduled in 2003.

4. Our Participation in Other Working Groups

The Japanese government will participate actively in other two working groups, namely "Politics and Culture" Working Group and "Education/Science and Technology" Working Group, established in the above mentioned Ministerial Meeting. In the "Politics and Culture" Working Group that will be held in Singapore on 1-3 May this year, we have already informed participation of our representatives, namely Mr. Nishibayashi, Deputy Director-General for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau, and Mr. Tsunekawa, professor of the Tokyo Universtiy, to the Singaporean Government. Also, to the "Education/Science and Technology" Working Group that will be held in Australia on 4-5 June this year, we are planning to send competent representative.

5. Our Policies Regarding National Projects

We hold the idea that although the three working groups were established, implementation of the national projects do no lose its importance as they are initiatives of member countries aimed at raising awareness and fostering better understanding and cooperation between the two regions.

6. Our Activities Regarding National Projects

The Japanese government itself has taken various initiatives to implement national projects.
    In February last year, Japan hosted "Symposium for Intellectuals from East Asia and Latin America" to which we have invited 10 intellectuals from both regions. As a result of discussion in the symposium, the participants made various important proposals including the establishment of the working groups within the framework of the forum.
    In November last year, Japan organized "Young Leaders' Symposium" in which 27 young and promising officials of the two regions were invited. The purpose of the symposium was to enhance mutual understanding and to deepen the cooperative relationship between the two regions. In this symposium, the invited young people discussed common issues and differences of both regions especially in the economic areas, and through the discussions, they renewed the understanding of respective region for the better. Japan is planning to hold the Second "Young Leaders' Symposium" this year as the first symposium ended in great success. In the long run, it is expected that through the experiences of this project the young people play bridging roles between East Asia and Latin America.
    Besides the projects mentioned above, various types of economic cooperation including programs of accepting trainees and dispatch of experts, cultural cooperation, seminars and other various measures to strengthen the relations between Japan and Latin America are being implemented not only by the government but also by the private sector and academies in Japan.

7. Our Participation in National Projects of Other Member Countries

Japan is eager to support the initiatives of national projects taken by other member countries. For example, last year in November, to the "Latin America - East Asia International Seminar on Bioceanic Corridors, Training of Negotiators and Business Meetings" hosted by Paraguayan government, Japan sent Ms. Hatakeyama, Chief Economist of Engineering Consulting Firms Association as our representative.

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