Kishida Calls for Deeper Japan-ASEAN Ties in 6 Areas

Pool Photo via AP
Prime Minster Fumio Kishida, left, shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo as he arrives for ASEAN-Japan Summit in Jakarta on Wednesday.

JAKARTA — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Wednesday that Japan will strengthen cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in six areas including maritime security and supply chain resilience as part of the new Japan-ASEAN Comprehensive Connectivity Initiative. Kishida outlined the initiative in a speech he delivered at an event held amid ASEAN-related summit meetings in Jakarta.

As 2023 marks the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, Kishida made clear his intentions to strengthen cooperation with the regional block in wide-ranging areas including security and economy.

On maritime cooperation, he said, “Japan will assist ASEAN countries in enhancing their maritime law enforcement capacity” by providing patrol vessels and training to maritime security agencies.

One aim is to improve deterrence against China, which continues its aggressive maritime expansion in the South China Sea.

As for the supply chain, Kishida noted that the importance of ensuring stable distribution of goods has increased due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other events. He said, “Japan will contribute to supply chain resilience in the ASEAN region, and will build economies that can withstand a crisis together.”

Other areas of cooperation he listed include transportation infrastructure, digital and cyber technologies, power supply and human resource development.