JAKARTA, 26 June 2018 – As ASEAN and Japan commemorate the 45th Anniversary of Friendship and Cooperation this year, Japan conveyed its strong desire to further strengthen its partnership with ASEAN.

Foreign Minister of Japan, Taro Kono conveyed this message during his meeting with Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dato Lim Jock Hoi at the ASEAN Secretariat today.

Minister Kono underscored that Japan places high priority to its relations with ASEAN and conveyed Japan’s continued support to ASEAN Community building efforts, including through funding programmes and projects under Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

He further informed that Japan looked forward to the adoption of Joint Statement to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation at the forthcoming ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in November this year. The Joint Statement is expected to set out the future direction of ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership.

Minister Kono reiterated that Japan would work closely with ASEAN to bring the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations to an early conclusion.

Secretary-General Dato Lim underscored the importance of ASEAN-Japan relations in support of ASEAN Community building efforts and Centrality. In appreciating Japan’s contribution to development cooperation in ASEAN, Secretary-General Dato Lim encouraged further cooperation between ASEAN and Japan including in disaster management and emergency response, particularly through the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre).

Minister Kono and Secretary General Dato Lim also exchanged views on regional and international issues, including Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific Strategy. Minister Kono stressed ASEAN’s vital role in maintaining and promoting peace, stability and prosperity across the region and reaffirmed that Japan would work closely with ASEAN to that end.