ASEAN achieved another milestone in strengthening one of its most important and dynamic bilateral relations following the successful conclusion of a roadshow to Japan from 25 – 28 April 2012. The ASEAN delegation was headed by H.E. Dr. Cham Prasidh, the Chair of the ASEAN Economic Community Council cum the Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce of Cambodia. Economic ministers and senior officials from ASEAN Member States and the Secretary-General of ASEAN also participated in this Roadshow.

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During the roadshow, the ASEAN delegation called on the Prime Minister of Japan; hold consultations with Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, the Japanese Parliament (Diet), KEIDANREN, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the ‘captain of industry’ of Japan; participated in disaster relief conference, investment forum and FTA symposium; site visits to port, SMEs and education institution in Sendai and Tokyo.

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H.E. Yoshihiko Noda, the Prime Minister of Japan assured ASEAN of its continued support for ASEAN’s Community building efforts and its central role in the emerging regional architecture through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The Prime Minister looked forward to the early launch of RCEP negotiations.

Japan also resolved to work with ASEAN to address areas critical to its economic integration process including disaster-resilient supply chain; connectivity; and SME development, and to finalize a robust ASEAN-Japan 10 Year Strategic Economic Roadmap for adoption at the 18th AEM-METI Consultation which will be held in Siem Reap, Cambodia in August 2012.

The Secretary-General of ASEAN H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan observed that “the high enthusiasm that was shown by all levels of Japanese leadership, public and private, reflects the mutual recognition that Japan and ASEAN are intimately and economically integrated more than ever.”