1. Finance Ministers of ASEAN countries and Japan met today in Kuala Lumpur on 1 December 1997 to discuss current economic developments in the region. The meeting was chaired by the Finance Minister of Thailand. Japan was represented by Vice Minister Eisuke Sakakibara on behalf of Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka

2. In light of the usefulness and significance of opportunities for Ministers to exchange views on economic and financial issues in the region. Ministers agreed to hold such meetings on a regular basis in the future. They agreed to explore the possibility of meeting again on the occasion of the Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting in late April next year.

3. Ministers reviewed the recent economic situation of the region. They noted that, while fundamentals of their economies generally remain good, there have been turbulence in some countries associated with problems in the capital account of the balance of payments, triggered by the deterioration of confidence. They expected that appropriate policy measures and timely and adequate support package by the international community would restore confidence and that the region’s economy would return to a robust growth path and continue to benefit from globalization.

4. Ministers noted that a New Framework for Enhanced Asian Regional Cooperation agreed in Manila was a remarkable achievement to promote financial stability and to ensure sustainable growth in the region. In this context, they reiterated the importance of strengthening the capacity of the IMF to carry out its responsibilities, and underscored the necessity of reviewing its access policies and establishing a new quick disbursing short- term facility within the IMF in a prompt manner.

5. Ministers discussed the recent economic and financial situation of Japan and noted that strong policy measures b@ considered by the Japanese Government would ensure confidence in its financial system and provide the basis for robust recovery of the Japanese economy. Japan reaffirmed its commitment to help restore full market confidence in the ASEAN region.