ASEAN, Japan reaffirm commitment to take partnership to new heights

Senior officials of ASEAN and Japan attending the 38th ASEAN-Japan Forum in Tokyo on March 28 reaffirmed their commitments to further advance the partnership and strengthen cooperation, as both sides are marking the 50th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations this year. 

The meeting highlighted the substantive progress made in ASEAN-Japan cooperation in all pillars over the past year, particularly in the execution of the Revised Implementation Plan of the Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation adopted in 2013. Notably, all of the action lines in the plan have been implemented through multiple programmes and projects carried out in a wide range of cooperation areas.

In support of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, the two sides agreed to continue strengthening cooperation to facilitate the regional economic recovery in the areas of trade and investment, digital economy, sustainable development, connectivity, disaster management, climate change, food and energy security, global health, and people-to-people exchanges.

ASEAN welcomed Japan’s support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), noting the similarities with Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, and Japan’s willingness to enhance cooperation by launching projects in the key areas of AOIP.

The meeting discussed deliverables for the 50th anniversary, in particular the preparation for the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit to be held in Tokyo in December 2023. Among the goals for the summit is the adoption of a vision statement and an implementation plan to advance future relations.

On this occasion, Japan formally requested for the establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) with ASEAN. It is hoped that the CSP will be announced this year to mark the special milestone in the long-standing relationship, and demonstrate both sides’ commitment to make the partnership even more substantive, meaningful and mutually beneficial in the coming decades.

The meeting also welcomed the establishment of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) 3.0 with a contribution of 100 million USD from Japan. JAIF 3.0 is a deliverable targeted for the partnership’s 50th anniversary to support various initiatives especially the activities relating to the implementation of the key areas of AOIP.

The 38th ASEAN-Japan Forum was co-chaired by Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Thailand Sarun Charoensuwan and Senior Deputy Foreign Minister of Japan Yamada Shigeo. In attendance were senior officers of ASEAN member states, and the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Political-Security Community.