Japan, ASEAN to Set Up Framework for Cooperation on Production of Next-Generation Vehicles

Reuters file photo
A Qin electric vehicle manufactured by BYD is seen in Beijing on Oct. 31.

Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are finalizing a cooperation framework to strengthen their partnership in next-generation vehicle production, including electric vehicles (EVs).

The initiative is part of their efforts to counter China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia’s EV production sector. The new framework is set to be formalized at a special summit to be held in Tokyo from Saturday to Monday.

Japan and ASEAN are scheduled to adopt a “joint vision” statement at the summit, with the new cooperation framework included as part of an action plan. According to the draft action plan, Japan will support ASEAN member nations in formulating a basic plan for next-generation vehicles; diversifying their options, including EVs and hybrid vehicles; and strengthening supply chains in the automotive sector.

Chinese companies, including the EV giant BYD, have significantly expanded their business in Southeast Asia in recent years, posing a threat to the market share of Japanese automakers in the region.

The action plan will also outline a policy of seeking further cooperation from ASEAN members concerning security in the area.

Specifically, collaboration on defense equipment and joint training are cited as areas of cooperation, stressing the need to strengthen joint efforts for maritime safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as maintaining the maritime order based on the rule of law in light of China’s aggressive maritime expansion. Japan-ASEAN cooperation for cybersecurity measures is also included.