Indonesian President Joko Widodo Keen to Strengthen ASEAN-Japan Ties

Shinsuke Yasuda / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaks during an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun in Jakarta on Friday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, incumbent chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on Friday stressed his intention to strengthen ties with Japan in the Indo-Pacific region, saying “cooperation can continuously be improved, especially in security … in maintaining peace and stability in the region,” during an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun in Jakarta.

Joko will co-host with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, scheduled to start Saturday in Tokyo.

During the interview, Joko noted that ASEAN members “have economic growth above the world average” and that “Japan is superior in technology and capital for investment” in the region.

Ahead of the interview, Joko invited the Yomiuri Shimbun to visit a construction site aimed at extending the capital’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which is being funded by Japanese Official Development Assistance. The MRT system launched in 2019 with the aim of ameliorating the city’s serious traffic problem.

Touching upon the MRT system, Joko said: “I appreciate Japan’s contribution … Japan is one of the countries that has the most advanced technology in the world. I hope technology transfer can continue in the future.”

MRT is now integral to Jakarta’s transportation system, exceeding target passenger numbers and with a punctuality rate of 99%.