JAKARTA, 5 February 2015 A 65-member delegation from the Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), led by Dr. Akio Mimura, Chairman of JCCI, visited the ASEAN Secretariat this week, as part of their 2015 Economic Mission to Indonesia and the Philippines.

H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, welcomed the heightened interest of the Japanese business community in ASEAN engendered by the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. He stated that “ASEAN and Japan have celebrated over 40 years of our friendship and cooperation. Over these 40 years of dialogue and cooperation, Japan has made significant contributions to the ASEAN Community’s building efforts which have further promoted peace, stability and prosperity in this region.” He highlighted the remarkable ten-fold increase in FDI flows, and a 240% increase in trade value in the last ten years.  He encouraged JCCI to work together with ASEAN Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on business partnerships in the region to further enhance trade and investment ties.

The JCCI expressed their interest in several ASEAN initiatives, which included among others, (i) the Open Skies Policy; (ii) the ASEAN Free Trade Agreements; and (iii) ASEAN’s Post-2015 vision. The JCCI also emphasised the need for closer and multi-dimensional social and economic ties between ASEAN and Japan, through trade, investment, public-private dialogue as well as people-to-people relationship.

JCCI is the central business organization in Japan representing local chambers of commerce. Today, nearly all 514 major cities in Japan have chambers of commerce with over a million members.

According to the ASEAN Stats in 2013, Japan is ASEAN’s third largest trading partner with total two-way trade amounting to US$240.8 billion. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows from Japan to ASEAN reached a high of US$22.9 billion, making Japan the second largest source of FDI inflows to ASEAN, accounting for 18.7% of total FDI inflows into ASEAN.