Japan aiming to boost ties with Asean
Azaraimy HH

JAPAN is hoping to address to the world a vision that will direct the future of Japan and Asean.

On the sideline of the Asean Plus Three in Brunei Darussalam, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would be inviting the Asean leaders to Japan to discuss this vision during the Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit in December.

The Japanese Prime Minister said Japan had a long history of friendship and cooperation with Asean member states.

Prime Minister Abe said the 40th anniversary of Japan-Asean friendship would be marked by further cooperation in various areas including economy, politics, security, culture and people-to-people exchange.

He also stressed the importance of maritime security when tackling issues pertaining to North Korea.

The Japanese Prime Minister said it was imperative for Japan to have good relations with China and Korea, so as to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

He called Japan’s bilateral relationship with China “one of the most important” and Korea “an important neighbour”.

With regards to the South China Sea issue, Prime Minister Abe said Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, gained great wealth from the open world and that the peace and stability of South China Sea was of common interest.

“Peaceful resolution of disputes and freedom of navigation conforming to international laws, including the UN convention’s rules, should be fully respected. This is a principle shared by many countries in East Asia.

“I am paying great attention to the official consultation between Asean and China on the Code of Conduct (CoC).

“I look forward to the early conclusion of the CoC that will contribute to the settlement of the dispute,” he added.

Prime Minister Abe also emphasised on the importance of TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

He said that apart from TPP’s importance in the large free economic zone, it also played a crucial role in services and investments.

“This is the pathway to realise a market befitting the road centre of the 21st Century,” he added.

Prime Minister Abe also said the responsibility of the future society shall be enhanced in various areas such as healthcare, urban development and disaster management.

He said Japan’s experience in technology should be utilised, in order to help enrich life of the people in Asean countries.

At the 16th Japan-Asean Summit, the Japanese Prime Minister introduced some measures Japan was currently undertaking.

Among these is that Japan will continue to actively assist in Asean’s community-building target by 2015. Japan will especially bolster cooperation on Asean Connectivity, which is the core of the Asean Community.

Also, Japan will increase economic exchanges with Asean, such as facilitating business operation between companies from both directions.

Prime Minister Abe said Japan would like to advance financial cooperation, including the expansion of currency swap, in order to contribute to the stability of the financial market.

He added that he would like to continue its coordination with Asean on the negotiations for RCEP and AJCEP while utilising existing bilateral EPAs.

In order to create a future where Japan and Asia learn together, he said Japan would promote mutual and continuous cultural exchanges while respecting the diversity of each other’s culture.

While confirming that Japan would launch a new cultural exchange policy at the Commemorative Summit, Prime Minister Abe also mentioned that the country would advance a youth exchange programme – the JENESYS 2.0 which the Prime Minister launched this year – as an investment towards the future of the Japan-Asean relationship.

The Japanese Prime Minister, at the Asean-Japan Summit, also ensured that Japan would enhance efforts on cooperation against new threats such as global terrorism and cybercrimes.

He also promised to help fight potential challenges that Asean might face by providing assistance in healthcare, environment and urbanisation. - Borneo Bulletin (11 October 2013)