HANOI, 3 June 2019 – ASEAN and Japan Senior Officials participating in the 34th ASEAN-Japan Forum in Hanoi yesterday reaffirmed the importance of the ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership and the commitment to further strengthen the close ties.

The meeting welcomed the continued momentum of advancing ASEAN-Japan relations, including the positive outcomes of the Leaders’ Summit on the 45th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations last November. ASEAN acknowledged Japan’s important role as a key trade and investment partner of ASEAN, and valued Japan’s continuous strong support for ASEAN Community-building efforts.

Looking forward, the two sides stressed the need to work closely to deepen the multifaceted cooperation outlined in the 2013 Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation and its Implementation Plan. Strengthening the economic partnership remains a priority as both sides agreed to intensify efforts to achieve the targets of the ASEAN-Japan 10-Year Strategic Economic Cooperation Roadmap (2012-2022). The targets include doubling trade and investment flows by 2022, including through the recent signing of the Protocol to Amend the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership and expanding cooperation in new areas such as digital economy and e-commerce.

Both sides also stressed the importance of upholding the rules-based multilateral trading systems, and the need to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations this year to boost regional trade and prosperity.

ASEAN and Japan looked forward to enhancing cooperation in emerging areas of shared interest such as technologies and innovation, smart cities, active aging, and marine plastic debris. Japan has been a leading partner in enhancing regional connectivity with a list of flagship projects to support the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

ASEAN also welcomed Japan’s active contribution to addressing climate change and natural disasters including through financial and technical support to strengthen the operation of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance. More activities and projects will also be conducted under the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund to foster closer cultural ties and people-to-people contacts.

The officials exchanged views on regional issues of common interest and concern and agreed to work together to address emerging challenges and promote peace and stability. Both sides stressed the need to maintain the momentum of dialogue and the peace process in the Korean Peninsula, and emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability, freedom and safety of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea. In discussing Indo-Pacific strategies, ASEAN and Japan shared the importance of ensuring openness and transparency, promoting cooperation, upholding the rule of law, and respect for ASEAN Centrality. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in addressing non-traditional security challenges, particularly transnational crimes including terrorism and cybercrime.