The 26th ASEAN Japan Summit (Summary)

September 6, 2023

On September 6, commencing at 11:35 a.m. local time (1:35 pm, JST) for about 60 minutes, the 26th ASEAN-Japan Summit was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, attended the meeting. The overview of the meeting is as follows. At this meeting, a joint statement to establish the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was adopted. Prime Minister Kishida introduced the Japan-ASEAN Comprehensive Connectivity Initiative which had been announced earlier on the day.

  1. Opening Remarks
    Following the opening remarks by President Joko Widodo as ASEAN Chair, Prime Minister Kishida delivered his opening remarks as follows.
    (1) Significance of the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation
    a. Japan initiated dialogue with ASEAN in 1973, ahead of the rest of the world. In the half century since then, the distinguishing feature of Japan-ASEAN relations has been that we are trusted partners with "heart to heart" connection.
    b. In fact, we have cooperated for regional peace and stability, sustainable development and prosperity. We have also extended a helping hand to each other in times of difficulty. The cornerstone of this is the interaction among the people in a wide range of fields and layers.
    c. At the Commemorative Summit meeting to be held in Tokyo in December, we would like to jointly set out a vision for creating a new era together. I hope that posterity will recognize this year as a "Golden Opportunity" to pass on the longstanding "Golden Friendship" between Japan and ASEAN to the next generation.
    (2) ASEAN-Japan Cooperation
    a. Japan strongly supports ASEAN centrality and unity and the mainstreaming of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). We would like to work together to ensure that many countries share and cooperate with the principles and activities set forth in the AOIP, such as openness, transparency, inclusiveness, and a rules-based framework.
    b. As part of these efforts, I announced a new contribution of $100 million to the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) in March.
    c. In addition, we announced at today’s ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) a new "Japan-ASEAN Comprehensive Connectivity Initiative" to further strengthen connectivity in both hard and soft aspects.
    d. Japan will support energy transition under the Asia Zero Emissions Community (AZEC) initiative and address climate change and environmental problems through the Strategic Program for ASEAN Climate and Environment (SPACE). Japan will also promote various initiatives such as the establishment of ERIA's Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy Centre, support for the establishment and early operationalization of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED); comprehensive cooperation in the legal and judicial fields to promote the rule of law; cooperation in disaster management, food and energy security; and the construction of 5G infrastructure.
    e. We will further promote attractive cultural, people-to-people, and intellectual exchanges and support for Japanese language education, such as JENESYS and the "WA Project", as well as cooperation among the next generation, such as by holding the Young Business Leaders’ Summit.
  2. Review of ASEAN-Japan Cooperation and Future Direction
    ASEAN countries expressed their appreciation for Japan's longstanding cooperation in a wide range of areas, its support for ASEAN Centrality and the AOIP and its contribution of 100 million USD to the JAIF, as well as their welcome to the establishment of the CSP and the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Connectivity Initiative and also their appreciation to the AZEC initiative. ASEAN countries also mentioned synergy effects between the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and AOIP. Many ASEAN Leaders also expressed their hope that the Commemorative Summit in December this year will set out a new vision for the relationship and further strengthen it.
  3. Regional and International Issues
    (1) ASEAN countries emphasized the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, the importance of international order based on the rule of law, and the importance of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and resolution of the abduction issue.
    (2) In response, Prime Minister Kishida pointed out that in order for the region to remain a “Epicentrum of Growth”, it is essential to maintain peace and stability in the region and international community. He also emphasized the importance of the following points for this objective, and he stated that he wished to share these recognitions with ASEAN countries:
    i.    All countries should adhere to the principles of the United Nations Charter, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
    ii.   Confrontation should be resolved peacefully through dialogue, and we support a just and durable peace that is based on respect for international law and the principles of the UN Charter.
    iii. Any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force is unacceptable anywhere in the world.
    iv.  We strive to uphold the free and open international order based on the rule of law.
    (3) Furthermore, Prime Minister Kishida stressed that he shares serious concerns about the situation in Myanmar and will give maximum support to the efforts of ASEAN, including the "Five-Point Consensus.”
    He also pointed out that the difficulties faced by the global economy have been aggravated by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the need for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and the importance of achieving a just and lasting peace in Ukraine and providing assistance to vulnerable populations, and he stressed that Russia’s nuclear threats, let alone its use of nuclear weapons, is absolutely unacceptable.
    In addition, he stated that he strongly opposes the continued and intensified activities in the East China Sea that infringe upon Japan's sovereignty. He also pointed out that militarization and coercive activities are continuing in the South China Sea, and that claims of maritime rights and activities in the sea should be conducted in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He also pointed out the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also stated that he strongly opposes economic coercion, which is a challenge to the free and open economic order based on rules.
    With regard to North Korea, he expressed serious concern over its intensified nuclear and missile activities, and stressed that it is essential for the international community to be united and fully implement UN Security Council resolutions in order to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges. He also called for continued understanding and cooperation toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.
    (4) Prime Minister Kishida also stated that the ALPS treated water is widely understood by the international community, and that there is no change in Japan’s position that it will work closely with the IAEA and provide explanations to the international community based on scientific evidence in good faith and in a highly transparent manner, and asked for the continued understanding and support of other countries.
  4. Closing Remarks
    Prime Minister Kishida stated that tomorrow (September 7) marks exactly 100 days to go to the Commemorative Summit in Tokyo in December, and expressed his intention to accelerate preparations for the meeting in close cooperation with the ASEAN counterparts. He also stated that Japan would like to show the world that Japan and ASEAN are trusted partners which will lead a new era and jointly create a sustainable and prosperous future for the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

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