H.E. Ms. Akira Matsu, Member of the House of Councillors – the upper house of the National Diet of Japan – called on H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, last week at the ASEAN Secretariat.

SG Minh welcomed Ms. Matsu and her delegation to the ASEAN Secretariat, which he said was a “reflection of the importance that Japan attaches to ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations that now spans to 40 years”. SG Minh added, “Notwithstanding the achievements of the dialogue relations over the last 40 years, there still remains scope to further enhance the already dynamic ASEAN-Japan relations. ASEAN looks forward to the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit being organized towards the end of the year and is in anticipation of new initiatives that would be meaningful and conducive to further expanding and deepening ASEAN-Japan relations.”

Ms. Matsu congratulated SG Minh on his appointment to lead ASEAN at the most critical stage of its Community-building efforts. She conveyed Japan’s confidence on the capability of SG to bring ASEAN towards its 2015 goal and reiterated Japan’s continued support to ASEAN’s endeavor. According to Ms. Matsu, “Japan recognizes the importance of ASEAN in the region, thus, Japan’s readiness to provide continuous support to ASEAN and its Community-building efforts, through various programs including the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).” Ms. Matsu was actually directly involved in the conceptualization of ERIA in 2006.

The private sector representatives in Ms. Matsu’s delegation also expressed their strong interest in expanding trade and investment in the ASEAN region.

Ms. Matsu’s party included H.E. Ambassador Kimihiro Ishikane of the Mission of Japan to ASEAN, officials from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and several private sector representatives. Prior to her meeting with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Ms. Matsu also participated in the Exchange of Views between the ERIA Governing Board (GB), the Academic Advisory Council (AAC) and the Ambassadors of EAS Member States, which took place at the sideline of the 6th Meeting of the ERIA Governing Board. Besides her official public position, Ms. Matsu is also a famous actress in Japan.