Japan, a long standing and generous partner of Asean

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to attend the 17th Asean-Japan Summit with the Heads of State and Government of Asean and Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.

His Majesty consented to deliver a titah and pointed out that Asean is at a crucial point in the Community Building process. It is redoubling efforts to fully implement the roadmap, while at the same time trying to ensure continuity through the Post-2015 Vision.

Throughout this experience, the support of Aseanís dialogue partners has been invaluable. Brunei Darussalam has especially appreciated the unwavering commitment of Japan, a long standing and generous partner of Asean. This is demonstrated by Japanís contribution to Japan Asean Integrated Fund (JAIF) which funds mutually beneficial activities and promotes greater economic cooperation between them.

His Majesty further stated that Asean and Japan have also put in place mechanisms to take Asean-Japan cooperation forward beyond 2015 through the Vision Statement, as well as its implementation plan, which was adopted last year. On this, His Majesty touched on what Asean sees as some of the priorities.

His Majesty highlighted Asean hopes to ensure that the region thrives, as a community that can overcome any challenges. An important part of that is what Asean is able to address emerging concerns, which are increasingly global in nature. For one, Asean must address our vulnerability to the effects of climate change, including natural disasters. It appreciates Japanís continued support for Aseanís efforts through Asean-Japan disaster management cooperation and the Asean Co-ordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA) Centre Executive Programme.

Asean also needs to urgently address pandemic diseases. The world is very appreciative of the efforts of countries, including Japan.

To develop a vaccine for the Ebola virus and His Majesty hopes Japan will work closely with Asean in all its efforts to eradicate the virus.

His Majesty further added that the need for Asean and Japan to work together on ensuring peace and security is greater now than there has ever been.

First and foremost is the reaffirmation of commitment by Asean and Japan to build confidence and mutual trust. His Majesty believed that Japan can play an important part in this effort.

At the same time, His Majesty stated Asean and Japan are also seeing an unprecedented rise in violence and brutality committed by terrorist and extremist organisations in some parts of the world. Thus it is very pertinent Asean and Japan show to the world that they are working closely together to address this through the declaration they will adopt.

His Majesty further highlighted that another lesson Asean has learnt over the past few years is the importance of economic cooperation in building confidence for our future. This is where Asean believes the work with Japan can further facilitate regional integration. So Asean welcomes efforts to further improve its current Economic Cooperation Roadmap and look forward to the early conclusion of the Services and Investment Chapter of the Partnership Agreement.

All these efforts will certainly move Asean and Japan a step closer to the goal of doubling trade and investment flows by 2022.

On a final note, His Majesty stated that next year Brunei Darussalam will be taking on the role of coordinating Aseanís work with Japan. His Majesty very much looks forward to working closely with PM Abe of Japan in further enhancing the already close cooperation, as Asean formulates its Post-2015 Vision.

The 17th Asean-Japan Summit discussed various current issues and matters related to the future of Asean with the cooperation of Japan as a strategic dialogue partner. Leaders also discussed matters closely related to the inter-connectivity between Asean and Japan not only at the government level but also between the people. Also during this summit, leaders of Asean expressed appreciation to Japan for their dedicated support and friendship towards Asean especially in realising the objectives of the Asean Community towards 2015 and beyond. - Borneo Bulletin (13 November 2014)