1. The ASEAN-Japan Forum held its fourteenth meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 18-19 January 1995, under the co-chairmanship of Japan and Thailand, to review ASEAN-Japan relations and cooperation and to discuss a broad-range of issues of international, regional and bilateral nature of mutual concern. Thailand is hosting the Meeting for the first time upon assumption of its responsibilities as ASEAN-Japan country-coordinator.
2. The Meeting was attended by H. E. Mr. Sadayuki Hayashi, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan, and ASEAN senior officials : H.E. Mr. Zainidi Haji Sidup, Director-General, ASEAN-Brunei Darussalam, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr. Izhar Ibrahim, Director-General of Political Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia; H.E. Dato’ Abdul Halim Ali, Deputy Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia; H.E. Mr. Rodolfo C. Severino, Undersecretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines; H.E. Mr. Peter Ho Hak Ean, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore; H.E. Mr. Pracha Guna-Kasem, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand; Mr. Mahadi bin Haji Wasli, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN; and together with their respective delegations.
3. The Meeting, was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Pracha Guna-Kasem, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, representing the country coordinator of ASEAN-Japan Dialogue, and by H.E. Mr. Sadayuki Hayashi, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.
4. The ASEAN Co-Chairman expressed, on behalf of ASEAN, condolences and deepest sympathy to the Government and people of Japan for the tragic heavy loss of lives and immense damages caused by the earthquake in Kobe City, Japan.
5. The Meeting reaffirmed that the ASEAN-Japan Forum served to strengthen existing good relations and cooperation between ASEAN and Japan. The Meeting acknowledged that ASEAN-Japan relations could be reinforced further by the guiding principles of equality and partnership, which will help provide a firm foundation for wider cooperation and progress in Asia.
6. The Meeting discussed in detail economic issues, development and cultural cooperation, as well as political and regional security issues.
7. ASEAN and Japan welcomed the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 1 January 1995 and pledged their close cooperation to ensure smooth functioning of the WTO with a view to strengthening open multilateral trading system. They exchanged views on such areas as anti-dumping and subsidies. They expressed deep concern towards the linkage of trade to labour standards. They also stressed that environment issues should not be used as disguised trade protection measures.
8. Regarding APEC, ASEAN and Japan agreed to continue their close consultations in order to maintain the momentum given by APEC Economic Leaders in Bogor. ASEAN recognized that Japan as current APEC Chairman has a key role in moving APEC forward. ASEAN assured Japan of its full support and cooperation to bring about successful conclusion of the next APEC Ministerial Meeting and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Osaka in November this year.
9. ASEAN informed Japan of the decision taken by the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) to speed up implementation of AFTA by the year 2003. ASEAN urged Japan to take advantage of the new business opportunities arising from the accelerated implementation of AFTA. Japan appreciated such initiatives by ASEAN and anticipated that its private sector would be more attracted to the increased potential of AFTA. ASEAN also expressed appreciation for Japan’s initiatives to organize the Second AFTA Seminar in Japan.
10. Japan briefed ASEAN on the latest development in economic negotiations between Japan and United States and assured ASEAN that such negotiating principles as Government reach, no managed trade and MFN treatment were consistently maintained.
11. ASEAN and Japan noted with satisfaction that the volume of trade between ASEAN and Japan has increased markedly. ASEAN urged Japan to make serious efforts to reduce ASEAN’s trade deficit with Japan. ASEAN stressed the necessity to optimize the utilization of the Japanese GSP Scheme through the increase of the ceiling quota for several product groups, as well as the deepening of tariff preferences. Japan responded that it has been exerting efforts for the promotion of imports and for the enhancement of deregulations and that these would contribute to the improvement of imports of ASEAN products to the Japanese market. Japan also explained that it will implement the improvement of the GSP Scheme in the context of the framework of the UR arrangements.
12. ASEAN and Japan recognized that Japan’s direct investment to ASEAN has contributed to the upgrading of ASEAN’s industrial structure. ASEAN urged Japan to accord high priority to its investment in ASEAN, particularly with regard to supporting industries, SMEs, as well as in ASEAN Growth Areas. Japan stressed the importance of supporting, industries and SMES, and explained the cooperation programmes to complement the policies of ASEAN countries that foster the supporting industries. They stressed the importance of their private sectors to explore the possibilities of joint ventures in third countries.
13. In presenting the Report of the ASEAN-Japan Economic Council (AJEC), Mr. Chumpol Phornprapha, Chairman of AJEC (ASEAN Section) urged for more concrete actions, particularly in the development of ASEAN SMEs and supporting industries, and the genuine transfer of technology and management skills from Japan to ASEAN. He also stressed the need to draw up a blueprint for future cooperation taking into account the dynamic global socio-economic changes and the increasing competition in the world market. The Meeting expressed appreciation for AJEC’s contribution to the enhancement of ASEAN-Japan economic activities. Japan pointed out that the recent dynamic business interactions between ASEAN and Japan would lead to significant improvement of technology transfer and management skills. They stressed the importance of the roles of private sector in the overall ASEAN-Japan relations.
14. The Meeting exchanged views on the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). ASEAN and Japan recognized the importance of ARF in preserving peace, prosperity and cooperation in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. They reiterated that the ARF proceed step-by-step, at a reasonable pace, towards arriving at concrete results in enhancing mutual reassurance among the member countries. ASEAN and Japan reaffirmed their readiness to cooperate closely in the promotion and development of the ARF process.
15. ASEAN and Japan welcomed the recently concluded Agreed Framework signed by the U.S. and the DPRK in Geneva in October 1994. They expressed hope that the Agreed Framework would bring about positive development, contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the region as a whole. They also expressed their support for the implementation of the Agreed Framework.
16. ASEAN expressed appreciation to Japan for the continued financial support to various development cooperation programmes, including the Japan-ASEAN Cooperation Promotion Programme (JACPP), the Inter-ASEAN Technical Exchange Programme (IATEP), and other projects.
17. ASEAN and Japan valued the long-term benefits of cultural cooperation such as the ASEAN Cultural Fund, the Japan Scholarship Fund for ASEAN Youth, the Japan-ASEAN Exchange Projects and the ASEAN-Japan Friendship Programme for the 21st Century in the promotion of mutual understanding. They recognized that cultural cooperation continued to be one of the major pillars of ASEAN-Japan relations, and agreed that such cooperation should be enhanced.
18. ASEAN and Japan reaffirmed that the serious efforts for economic reforms and development by countries in Indochina should be encouraged and supported by the international community. In this regard, the Meeting welcomed the decision taken by the 3rd AEM-MITI Meeting, in September 1994 in Chiangmai, Thailand, to set up the Working Group on Economicoperation in Indochina as a joint effort by ASEAN and Japan. ASEAN also welcomed Japan’s initiative to host the Forum for Comprehensive Development of Indochina on 26-27th February 1995 in Tokyo.
19. The Fifteenth Meeting of ASEAN-Japan Forum will be held in Japan at a date to be mutually agreed upon.