Japan, ASEAN Call for Enhancing Strategic Partnership at Special Summit in Tokyo

Pool via Reuters
Leaders of ASEAN nations, Philippine’s President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Laos’ Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Mamet, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and East Timor’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao pose for a group photo prior to their talk session of the Japan ASEAN Friendship and Synergy 50th anniversary Special Personal Consultant Talks in Tokyo on Sunday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the leaders of nine member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations called for deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership in a joint statement adopted during a Japan-ASEAN special summit in Tokyo on Sunday.

Kishida said Japan intends to “mobilize” $35 billion (¥4.9 trillion) in the ASEAN area over the next five years from the public and private sectors for support for measures to combat climate change, among other issues.

“Amid the fact that divisions and confrontations have deepened in various places and the world is facing complex crises, Japan will stand with ASEAN, which is a pivotal factor for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Kishida said during a joint press conference after the summit.

The joint statement calls for high-quality infrastructure investment, enhancing the supply chain and the promotion of cooperation in energy fields. During the summit meeting, Kishida offered an idea to support private-sector investment by utilizing “offer-type cooperation” in which Japan itself will make support proposals in its official development assistance.

The leaders affirmed that a new framework of partnership will be established to strengthen cooperation for the production of electric and other next-generation vehicles.

The joint statement also calls for enhancing cooperation in such fields as national security, cybersecurity and measures against disinformation.

During the meeting, the Japanese prime minister expressed his intention to actively utilize the official security assistance, a program designed to provide free defense equipment and other forms of support to militaries of countries that share the same values as Japan. The aid is part of Japan’s efforts to support other countries with China’s increasing hegemonic behavior in mind.

In the field of people-to-people exchanges, a comprehensive program will be launched with more than 10 million people participating over the next 10 years using ¥40 billion in funding from Japan.

Japan will also inject ¥15 billion over about five years for a project to support international joint research and other studies.

“We hope to steadily pass on the bonds of trust to future generations,” Kishida said.