Vietnam News Agency, 17 February 2016 – The prospects for the socio-economic cooperation between the ASEAN and Japan were the focus of a workshop held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 17 by the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies in Jakarta.
Nearly 150 scholars, researches, experts and diplomats took the occasion to present their assessment of the ties between the two sides and offer ideas on how to promote the relations in all fields.
Participants were unanimous about the great economic development potential of the ASEAN region with a population of 635 million. They forecast Japanese investment in the region will continue to rise, particularly in the fields of infrastructure, technology, education and vocational training.
An idea of “Made-in-ASEAN” products was tabled for discussion at the event.
Lee Yoong Yoong from the ASEAN Secretariat said the ASEAN-Japan cooperation brings many benefits, especially in economic and social terms. He expressed hope that the cooperation will be enhanced in the future to benefit both sides.
The workshop also underlined that the strategic partnership between ASEAN and Japan is built on the basis of shared strategic interests and common goals. Participants noted that Japan’s economic growth is closely related to ASEAN’s, while the close coordination of actions between the two sides will contribute to building an Asian-Pacific region of peace and prosperity.
Besides economic ties, people-to-people exchange and cultural connectivity are also believed to be a focus of cooperation between ASEAN and Japan.
According to Director for Southeast Asia of the Japan International Exchange Fund Ogawa Tadashi, culture will be an important aspect of bilateral ties in the future.
ASEAN and Japan set up informal dialogue ties in 1973, which became official in March 1977 at the ASEAN-Japan Forum. The two sides have made great strides in political-security, economic, socio-cultural cooperation over the past more than 40 years.
The bilateral ties received a boost with the signing of the Tokyo Declaration for the Dynamic and Enduring ASEAN-Japan Partnership in the New Millennium at the commemorative ASEAN-Japan summit in Tokyo in March 2003.
In November 2011, the 14th ASEAN-Japan Summit in Bali, Indonesia, issued the Joint Declaration for Enhancing ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership for Prospering together and the ASEAN-Japan Plan of Action for 2011-2015.