The Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and Japan and their representatives met in Jakarta on 9 April 2011 for the Special ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting in response to the devastating impact of the recent earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan as well as the recent occurrence of natural disasters in other parts of the region. The Secretary-General of ASEAN also participated in the meeting. This was a historic occasion for ASEAN and Japan to come together for a common purpose.
The special meeting was addressed by the President of the Republic of Indonesia who inter alia underlined its importance as a reflection of solidarity between ASEAN and Japan in addressing natural disasters. He emphasized that effective and timely response to natural disasters of such a magnitude require a coordinated and coherent approach. He also emphasized the need to further enhance the capacity for disaster preparedness and management, by building upon the existing mechanisms and frameworks.
The Prime Minister of Japan sent a message through the Foreign Minister of Japan to express his deep gratitude to the warm support from ASEAN, and the message was appreciated by the ASEAN Member States.
The Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and their representatives and the Foreign Minister of Japan exchanged views on recent natural disasters in the region, particularly the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11 March 2011. They discussed efforts to enhance cooperation in disaster management.
The Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and their representatives expressed their sympathy, solidarity, and support to the Government and people of Japan in their recovery and reconstruction efforts. They were confident of the early reconstruction of Japan. They expressed their appreciation for Japan’s generous support which has been contributing to the development of ASEAN countries, and also expressed their strong expectation that Japan will continue to contribute to the development and stability of the region. They further expressed their determination to reciprocate by rendering their assistance and support to Japan.
The Foreign Minister of Japan deeply appreciated the warm support for Japan from the ASEAN Member States and people, and briefed the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and their representatives on the latest developments, as well as Japan’s determination to overcome the aftermath of the disaster and achieving early recovery. It was also noted that with the increasing economic interdependence between Japan and ASEAN, the recovery and early reconstruction of Japan as well as the economic growth in ASEAN are mutually important.
Following extensive discussions among them, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and Japan and their representatives:
“Welcome the holding of the Special Meeting, which reflects the strong and special ties that bind ASEAN and Japan from the Leaders’ level to people’s level;
Recall Japan’s unwavering support of ASEAN Member States when natural disaster struck, and underscore, the firm commitment of ASEAN Member States to support the relief, recovery, and reconstruction process in Japan in response to Japan’s request;
Note heartfelt supports from ASEAN Member States, especially the public and the civil societies, extended to the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan;
Reaffirm their commitment to promote ASEAN-Japan future cooperation in disaster management, being cognizant of their geographical vulnerability to natural disasters;
Welcome Japan’s resolve to further strengthen its support for ASEAN in the efforts to promote and enhance capability in disaster management;
Underline the need to strengthen such cooperation through, among others, sharing of experiences and lessons-learned including the Great East Japan Earthquake; ensuring prompt and smooth communication in times of disaster; enhancing coordination mechanisms to facilitate the flows of support in a timely manner; as well as conducting training and capacity building programs for disaster preparedness, emergency response, relief, and reconstruction efforts;
Stress the need to further strengthen existing disaster management cooperation under the various regional mechanisms, including the ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership, ASEAN Plus Three, East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN Regional Forum, including periodic holding of Disaster Relief Exercise (DiREx);
Emphasize the importance of the full implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) and the operationalisation of the ASEAN Co-ordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) which will support risk identification and monitoring, regional standby arrangements, and joint disaster relief and emergency response, as well as appreciate Japan’s will to fully support this project including the dispatch of experts;
Acknowledge the necessity to continuously promote disaster-resilient societies with emphasis on human security as well;
Acknowledge with appreciation Japan’s determination to make its utmost efforts to regain the control of the situation with its all available measures and Japan’s assurance to provide information to the international community with maximum transparency on the response to the nuclear power plants accident, and trust that Japan will continue to provide such information to the international community;
Support Japan’s resolve to take a leadership role in the international undertakings to improve the safety of nuclear power plants, and its willingness to share experiences learned from the accident with ASEAN Member States.”
The Foreign Ministers and their representatives also exchanged views on other matters, including the draft ASEAN-Japan Declaration on Strategic Partnership and its Plan of Action 2011-2015, as well as Japan’s strong and unchanged commitment to support the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.
The Foreign Ministers request the Secretary-General of ASEAN, working closely with ASEAN Member States, to facilitate an enhanced coordination of ASEAN’s possible assistance for the relief and recovery efforts, as well as the medium- and long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction plan for Japan.
The Foreign Ministers further request the Secretary-General of ASEAN to update its undertakings to the ASEAN-Japan PMC in July 2011 and to report to the 18th and 19th ASEAN Summits.
The Foreign Ministers were confident that through determination and concerned efforts, inspired by compassion and solidarity, Japan will recover and emerge as even stronger as a partner for ASEAN. ASEAN Foreign Ministers conveyed their message to the Japanese people that in this Japanese endeavor to overcome the difficult situation, ASEAN will always stand by the Japanese people.