Asia

The Seventh Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting

July 4, 2015
Japanese

  • Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
  • Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
  • Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office
On July 4, commencing at 9:10 a.m. for approximately an hour and a half until 10:40 a.m., the Seventh Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting (the Mekong-Japan Summit) was held in Tokyo. The overview is as follows. (The Summit was attended by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan (Chair), Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), H.E. U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, H.E. Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam).
The ''New Tokyo Strategy 2015 for Mekong-Japan Cooperation,'' a strategy for Mekong-Japan cooperation over the next three years, was adopted at the Summit.

1. At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe explained that the Mekong region occupies a strategic position for land and maritime transport, and its peace and stability is therefore extremely important to Japan, and stated that the Mekong region is achieving powerful economic growth and is a partner with the potential for abundant growth.

2. While summing up the accomplishments of the ''Tokyo Strategy 2012,'' Prime Minister Abe proposed the ''New Tokyo Strategy 2015'' as an initiative for the coming three years based on the view that it is important to realize ''quality growth'' in the Mekong region that combines inclusiveness, sustainability, and resilience. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan will provide 750 billion yen of Official Development Assistance (ODA) support to the Mekong region over the next three years.

(1) As a general overview of the accomplishments of the ''Tokyo Strategy 2012,'' Prime Minister Abe stated that Mekong-Japan cooperation has been achieving steady results over the past three years based on the ''Tokyo Strategy 2012,'' with (i) ''Enhancing Mekong Connectivity,'' (ii) ''Developing Together,'' and (iii) ''Ensuring Human Security and Environmental Sustainability'' as its three pillars. The Prime Minister also explained that the approximately 600 billion of ODA support over a three-year period that Japan announced three years ago yen has been achieved and is an indication of Japan's strong resolve.
Prime Minister Abe also expressed the view that regional stability is important to advancing Mekong-Japan cooperation, and he welcomed the countries' efforts to achieve democratization, restore democracy, and their initiatives relating to national reconciliation, the rule of law and human rights. Furthermore, the Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for regional initiatives on humanitarian issues, including the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean hosted by the Government of Thailand in May.
In addition, Prime Minister Abe mentioned last month's High-Level Seminar on Peacebuilding, National Reconciliation and Democratization in Asia, and explained that over the 70 years since the end of World War II, as a peace-loving nation Japan has been making every possible effort to achieve peace and prosperity in Asia and contributing to Asian countries' peacebuilding and democratization initiatives, and with this path as the foundation, Japan is advocating its policy of ''Proactive Contribution to Peace'' based on the principle of international cooperation.

(2) Regarding the ''New Tokyo Strategy 2015,'' Prime Minister Abe explained that efforts will be made to further promote private-sector investment, including the utilization of public-private partnerships, and to build a multilayered cooperative relationship that also incorporates regional and private-sector dynamism. Prime Minister Abe explained that the initiatives will be pursued based on the following four pillars.

First Pillar: Industrial infrastructure development in the Mekong region and strengthening ''hard connectivity'' with in the region and with the surrounding regions.
Prime Minister Abe stated that the Mekong is one of the most important regions possessing vast infrastructure demand, and explained that based on the ''Partnership for Quality Infrastructure'' that he announced recently, in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB) , Japan is committed to promote ''quality infrastructure investment'' totaling approximately 110 billion U.S. dollars over a five-year period, and also using the approach of ''quality as well as quantity'' in the Mekong region.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan is attaching importance to industrial infrastructure development and strengthening ''hard connectivity'' with in the region and with the surrounding regions, and where ''hard connectivity'' is concerned, Japan will endeavor to develop high-speed railways and urban railways, and promote the Dawei development project linking the Mekong and India.

Second Pillar: Industrial human resource development and strengthening ''soft connectivity''
On the soft front, Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan will work on strengthening ''soft connectivity'' on the economic front, including (1) promoting public-private partnerships and formulating a ''Mekong Industrial Development Vision,'' (2) developing human resources, including industrial professionals, (3) strengthening institutional connectivity, including the development of legal systems, and (4) the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Prime Minister Abe requested the Mekong region countries to engage in further developing their investment environment so that they will be able to further utilize private-sector dynamism. Prime Minister Abe also explained Japan's initiatives in the field of healthcare, including realizing universal health coverage (UHC), and cultural, sports, and people-to-people exchanges.

Third Pillar: The realization of a Green Mekong, towards sustainable development for realizing ''quality growth''
Prime Minister Abe stated that in order to realize a Green Mekong, efforts will be needed in fields such as disaster reduction, the environment, climate change and energy, and Japan, which possesses a great deal of expertise in these fields, is prepared to assist in enhancing the Mekong region's resilience. Furthermore, in connection to this, Prime Minister Abe expressed his gratitude for the support of the Mekong countries for establishing ''World Tsunami Day''. In addition, discussions also took place on promoting highly efficient coal-fired power generation, water resource management, and the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic fishery resources, including cetaceans.

Fourth Pillar: Coordination with various stakeholders in order to implement efficient and effective assistance for realizing ''quality growth''
Prime Minister Abe expressed the view that amid the strong interest being shown in the Mekong region by a variety of stake holders, including major countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), efficient and effective assistance with their coordination is important, and Japan will strengthen coordination with the efforts of the Mekong region countries themselves, including Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summits, and will also engage in south-south cooperation and triangular cooperation. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan will strengthen cooperation in order to utilize the capital and expertise of international organizations and relevant countries such as ADB and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), and the private-sector.

3. In response, the Mekong region countries stated that they highly appreciate Japan's steady implementation of initiatives based on the three pillars of the ''Tokyo Strategy 2012'' in the run-up to the launch of the ASEAN Community, and Japan's contribution to strengthening the regional connectivity and to ''quality growth,'' and expressed strong expectation toward Japan's role in further development of the Mekong region, particularly Japan's promotion of ''quality infrastructure investment'' in the Mekong region based on the ''Partnership for Quality Infrastructure,'' and human resources development. The Mekong region countries also welcomed the deepening economic relationship between Japan and the Mekong region, along with voicing expectations for further business expansion, greater investment, and stronger public-private partnerships in the Mekong region by Japanese companies.
The Mekong region countries stated that they highly appreciate the Third United Nations (UN) World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction that Japan held in Sendai in March, and the constructive role Japan is fulfilling in the disaster reduction field. They also expressed a sense of expectation toward Japan in achieving a Green Mekong.
During the meeting, the ''New Tokyo Strategy 2015'' was adopted unanimously, and it was agreed that toward 2018, Mekong-Japan cooperation will be advanced further.

4. A discussion on the peace and stability of the international community and the region also took place. Prime Minister Abe explained that the ''Legislation for Peace and Security'' currently being deliberated in the Diet is for protecting the lives and peaceful lives of Japanese people, and for making a greater contribution to the peace and stability of the international community. The leaders of the Mekong region countries showed their recognition that regional peace and stability is essential to the development of the Mekong region, and expressed their understanding and strong support for Japan's path as a peace-loving nation in the 70 years since the end of World War II and the '' Proactive Contribution to Peace'' policy. In particular, the Mekong region countries stated that they highly appreciate the contributions to the peace and stability of the international community that Japan has made thus far through peace-keeping operations (PKOs), and expressed their expectation for further initiatives going forward.
A discussion also took place on regional affairs, including the Korean Peninsula, and international affairs, including the UN reform, and the Mekong region countries expressed their support for Japan obtaining a permanent seat on the Security Council. A discussion relating to maritime safety also took place, and in addition to sharing the view on freedom of navigation and overflight, the countries also discussed the need for the rule of law at sea, and expressed their concerns regarding recent developments in the situation of the South China Sea.

5. Lastly, Prime Minister Abe reiterated that under the ''Proactive Contribution to Peace'' policy, Japan intends to contribute to the prosperity and development of the Mekong region countries in the future also, and all the leaders confirmed that a new ''Action Plan'' forward ''quality growth'' will be compiled at the Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting to be held in August, and that the Eighth Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting will be held in the Lao PDR in 2016.