Japan-Malaysia Relations

Japan-Malaysia Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership

May 25, 2015

1.   Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and Dato' Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia held a Bilateral Summit Meeting on Monday, 25 May 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.
 
2.   Both leaders recognized that the relations and close cooperation established between Japan and Malaysia is based on mutual respect and understanding as well as the enduring multi-layered bonds between the peoples of both countries, which have been further fostered through various engagements and collaboration encompassing various areas namely trade, investment, tourism, education, infrastructure development, science and technology as well as cultural exchanges.
 
3.   The initiation of the Look East Policy (LEP) in 1981 has contributed immensely to the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries. Therefore, it is imperative for Japan and Malaysia to further engage in advancing the cooperation under the new framework of the Second Wave of the Look East Policy (LEP 2.0) by exploring collaboration in new growth areas of priority to the two countries.
 
4.   After having reached a stage of "Enhanced Partnership" in 2010, relations continued to be forged closer in various fields. Both countries have been collaboratively addressing new challenges and opportunities facing the region and the international community with the objective to promote and maintain peace and stability as a whole, and helping each other in times of hardships.
 
5.   Both countries, sharing fundamental values including freedom, democracy and the rule of law, are determined to contribute together or even more proactively to achieve common strategic interests of maintaining and enhancing peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond.
 
6.   Japan, highly commending Malaysia's long-standing contribution to regional stability including through ASEAN and its strong leadership as Chairman of ASEAN in 2015, is committed to fully supporting Malaysia's initiatives towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community. Malaysia appreciates Japan's contribution to peace and stability of the world, as a peace-loving nation, as well as its determination to even more proactively contribute towards ensuring peace and stability in the region and the international community at large.
 
7.   As a manifestation of commitment and determination to contribute to enhance the relationship as well as in recognizing the deepening of relations in a wide range of areas, the Prime Ministers of both countries decided to elevate the bilateral relationship to a "Strategic Partnership". Under this new Partnership guiding the two countries' journey into the future, both leaders shared the determination to enhance cooperation specifically in the following five (5) areas.
 
I.  Cooperation for Peace and Stability
 
8.   Both leaders reiterated their commitment to further promote security cooperation on the shared recognition that ensuring peace and stability in the region is essential for achieving global prosperity amid the progress of globalization and diversification of threats to the international community. Prime Minister Najib welcomed Japan's initiatives including Legislation for Peace and Security under the banner of "Proactive Contribution to Peace" based on the principle of international cooperation as they will contribute to peace and stability as a whole.
 
9.   Both leaders welcomed the recent development in the area of defence and affirmed to enhance the cooperation, aiming at the early signing of a memorandum on bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges. The leaders further acknowledged the multifaceted exchanges between the defence authorities particularly in the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) efforts. As a new initiative of such cooperation, both leaders decided to initiate negotiations on the framework for cooperation on the transfer of defense equipment and technology.They welcomed the continued cooperation in the PKO area, which both countries have been putting emphasis on, including cooperation at the Malaysian Peacekeeping Centre.
 
II. Achieving Free, Open and Stable Sea
 
10.   Both Leaders underscored the importance of sea lanes of communication (SLOC) in the region for the security, trade and economic prosperity, not only to countries in the Asia-Pacific region but to the wider world. The two Leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability of the ocean, in accordance with international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), upholding freedom of navigation as well as ensuring safety and security in these SLOC. Both Leaders reaffirmed the importance of regional and international cooperation in addressing maritime security threats, including combating piracy and armed robbery against ships.
 
11.   Prime Minister Abe supported Malaysia's continued efforts in ensuring the safety and security of Malaysia's maritime zones, in particular the SLOC in Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea. Prime Minister Najib thanked Prime Minister Abe for Japan's continued assistance in providing further capacity building to Malaysia's Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), recognizing Malaysia's intention to develop MMEA's Sultan Ahmad Shah Maritime Academy (AMSAS) as a regional training centre. Both Leaders are determined to enhance maritime cooperation in all areas between the two countries.
 
III. Investment in the Future through the Look East Policy 2.0 and Economic Cooperation
 
12.   Both leaders reiterated the significant contribution of the Look East Policy (LEP), particularly on human resource development. The LEP has enabled modern technology to be effectively transferred to Malaysian students and researchers through their experiences working in universities, laboratories and research institutes in Japan. These students and researchers were exposed to the good social ethics and work values of Japanese culture. Recalling commitment made in 2013 to continue cooperation under the LEP, the Leaders welcomed the Guiding Document of the LEP 2.0 and the establishment of Bilateral Coordinating Committee. Both leaders shared the view that the implementation of cooperation in the areas including advanced industrial technologies, services and managerial skills is expedited. Prime Minister Najib expressed his hope that LEP2.0 will result in genuine technology transfer, effective collaboration in R&D, and successful business joint-ventures.  
 
Prime Minister Abe also expressed his intention to launch "LEP2.0 Training Programme", a new cost-sharing training programme with the goal of accepting 500 trainees from Malaysia over the next five years, based upon the accomplishment of the Economic Partnership Programme since its launch in 2006.
 
13.   Based on the fact that Japan has been one of the largest source of foreign direct investment to Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib highly valued the long-standing contribution by Japanese enterprises to the development of the Malaysian economy through investment, technology transfer and human resource development and expressed his expectation for further promotion of investment. Both leaders affirmed to strengthen bilateral economic relations aiming at developing Malaysia's high valued economy through cooperation on infrastructure development based on the concept of "quality infrastructure", including high-efficiency coal fired power plant, water, information and communication technology (ICT), technology cooperation and highly-skilled human resource development as well as the enhancement of cooperation in new areas such as Islamic Finance, Halal industries, clean technology and broadcasting programmes in line with the priorities of both countries.
 
14.   Prime Minister Abe expressed his hope for introduction of the Japanese Shinkansen system in the High Speed Railway Project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Prime Minister Najib expressed his appreciation for the technology and reliability of Shinkansen and noted the interest of Japan.
 
15.   Both leaders affirmed the pressing need, in light of the dire climate projections contained in the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to address climate change through the transfer of climate and environment-friendly low and zero-emission technologies for power generation from renewable sources and through the transfer of technologies needed to enhance energy efficiency across all sectors. They affirmed the contribution of high-efficient coal-fired power plants in addressing climate change and as a source of electricity and concurred on the importance of sharing the necessity of continued public financial supports by OECD countries for coal-fired power generation in international fora.
 
16.   Both leaders also reaffirmed the commitment to promote liberalization of trade and investment through bilateral and multilateral economic partnership and regional economic integration including Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as well as through a rule-based multilateral trading system. Both leaders highlighted the importance of proper implementation of the bilateral commitments under the existing Japan-Malaysia Economic Partnership Agreement (JMEPA) signed on 13 December 2005 and came into force on 13 July 2006. They also shared the view to proactively utilize the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) in efforts towards economic integration in East Asia.
 
IV.  Expanded Cooperation in Cultural and People to People Exchange
 
17.   Both leaders welcomed the steady progress of cooperation between relevant authorities of both countries including through consideration of memorandum of cooperation in new fields such as health, science, technology and innovation, and information and communication and affirmed to advance bilateral cooperation in broader areas. 
 
18.   Recognizing the importance of people-to-people relations in achieving strong bilateral ties between the two countries, both leaders shared determination as well as intention to foster better mutual understanding, goodwill and friendship between the peoples of both countries. They decided to promote cultural and people-to-people exchange through tourism, education exchange including dispatch of students, JENESYS2015, WA Project and Japanese language education assistance, and cooperation under "Sport for Tomorrow" programme.
 
19.   Both leaders reiterated the significance of Malaysia-Japan International Institute for Technology (MJIIT) as a hub of Japanese style engineering education in ASEAN region and affirmed the commitment of both governments to further strengthen MJIIT including through provision of scholarships for students from ASEAN countries utilizing JAIF 2.0 and support for establishment of National Center for Disaster Management. Malaysia welcomes Japan's support in the establishment of the Center in providing expertise, scholarship and training for Malaysian and ASEAN students.
 
V. Contribution to Regional and Global Agenda
 
20.   Both leaders reaffirmed the growing significance of the evolving regional architecture built upon ASEAN's centrality and underlined their commitment to strengthen ASEAN-Japan relations and the ASEAN Plus Three mechanism. Both leaders also decided to cooperate closely to strengthen the East Asia Summit which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2015, underpinning its importance as a leader's-led forum for dialogue and co-operation on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern. Prime Minister Abe expressed his full support for Malaysia's efforts as Chairman of ASEAN during this historic year through various initiatives.
 
21.   Both leaders exchanged views on recent developments in the South China Sea. 
 
Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea.  Both leaders emphasized the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in enhancing mutual trust and confidence amongst all parties, and underscored the importance for the early establishment of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) on the basis of consensus.  
 
Both leaders underscored the importance for all parties concerned to exercise self-restraint and to settle their maritime disputes and differences through peaceful means and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
 
22.   Both leaders concurred in strengthening cooperation in counter-terrorism and extremism including through the multinational frameworks such as the EAS and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), as shown in the ARF Workshop on Counter Radicalisation co-chaired by both countries this March. Prime Minister Abe emphasized his intention to advance the 3-Pillar Foreign Policy in response to the terrorist incident regarding the murder of Japanese citizens, including assistance in creating societies resilient to radicalization, and he highly valued initiatives on moderation led by Malaysia in ASEAN and in the United Nations. Both leaders welcomed the High-Level Seminar on Peacebuilding, National Reconciliation and Democratization in Asia proposed by Prime Minister Abe which will take place in Tokyo in June as well as the second International Conference of the Global Movement of the Moderates in October this year as occasions to deepen discussion on moderation.
 
23.   Acknowledging the dire humanitarian circumstances with regard to the current development concerning the irregular movement of people in Southeast Asia, including those currently adrift at sea and in particular women and children, Prime Minister Abe welcomed the efforts made by Malaysia in reaching the recent agreement between Malaysia and Indonesia to provide humanitarian assistance to those 7000 irregular migrants still at sea and to offer temporary shelter to them provided that the resettlement and repatriation process will be done in one year by the international community. Further, Prime Minister Najib welcomed Japan's intention to play its role to solve this issue in collaboration with the international community.
 
24.   Both leaders shared their views that North Korea's continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, including its activities at the uranium enrichment facility and ballistic missile launches, poses a threat to the region and the rest of the world. They strongly urged North Korea to take concrete actions towards complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization and to fully comply with its obligations under all the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and its commitments under the 2005 Six-Party Talks Joint Statement. Both leaders also reaffirmed their commitments to fully implement all obligations under the relevant UNSC resolutions. Both leaders strongly urged North Korea to address, without delay, humanitarian concerns of the international community, including the abductions issue.
 
25.   Both leaders reaffirmed the urgent need to reform the UN, including the Security Council, in a way that reflects the geopolitical realities of the 21st Century. In particular, they emphasized the importance for the UN Security Council to strengthen its representativeness, effectiveness and transparency, including through the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories. In this context, both sides shared the view to enhance cooperation for achieving concrete outcomes this year, which celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN. Prime Minister Najib reiterated his continued support for Japan's candidature for its permanent membership in the UN Security Council, and Prime Minister Abe expressed his deep gratitude in this regard.
 
26.   Both leaders appreciated the success of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March this year, and they shared the importance of connecting the achievement of this conference with the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in July, the post-2015 development agenda to be adopted in September and the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) at the end of this year. Furthermore, Prime Minister Najib supported the proposal by Prime Minister Abe to designate November 5 as "World Tsunami Day" with the aim of deepening understanding of tsunami and raising awareness of the importance of taking precautionary measures against tsunami.
 
27.   Both leaders reaffirmed the determination to further cooperate in the area of disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy in order to realize a world free of nuclear weapons.
 
Conclusion
 
28.   Looking ahead, both leaders pledged their commitment to strengthen Japan-Malaysia bilateral cooperation through the framework of the Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit.