Jakarta, 26 May 2011

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It was a ceremony at the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta, but as the unveiling plaque of the Japan Mission to ASEAN, signifies another landmark in the country’s relationship with ASEAN.

Describing the relationship as a “very very special one”, Ambassador Takio Yamada said more than 30 years after establishing ties, Japan is ready to strengthen the partnership with ASEAN in almost all areas such as economic partnership, political and security, social development, as well as people-to-people contacts.

“ASEAN, our special friend, is now becoming one of the most vibrant regions in the world. Do you know that the Japan’s second largest trading partner after China is not the US but ASEAN? ASEAN is also one of the largest destinations for Japan’s direct investment. We believe that, in order to revitalize the Japanese economy after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, the cooperation with ASEAN, including in the area of infrastructure export, will become increasingly important,” said Ambassador Yamada.

Looking ahead, Japan is working on new initiatives like a joint declaration, and an Action Plan with ASEAN.

Acknowledging the special relationship, ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Bagas Hapsoro said “for more than 30 years since Japan became a dialogue partner of ASEAN, the cooperation between ASEAN and Japan has broadened and deepened, covering political and security, economic and financial, and social and cultural areas.” He further added “We have acknowledged Japan’s sincere support for the ASEAN integration throughout these years”.

“As individuals and as nations, the people of ASEAN have shown in various ways their solitude for and solidarity with the People of Japan”, Deputy SG Bagas Hapsoro went on to say. “We want to see Japan and its people to grow stronger than ever”, the DSG further stated.

With the establishment of the Mission of Japan to ASEAN, ASEAN Member states are confident that Japan will be able to work with ASEAN effectively in implementing cooperation programmes under the current and future ASEAN-Japan plans of action and realising the common objectives of both sides in the region.

DSG Bagas Hapsoro expressed his best wishes for the establishment of the Permanent Mission of Japan to ASEAN in this beautiful city of Jakarta. “I am confident that by having a Permanent Mission here, Japan will have a smoother cooperation with ASEAN, particularly with the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat”, said Bagas in his closing remarks.

Praising Japan’s role as a “reliable and dependable partner of ASEAN”, Indonesia’s Jose Tavares, Director of Dialogue Partners and Inter-Regional Affairs of ASEAN, noted that Japan has been one of ASEAN’s most committed partners in capacity building and integration, as well as supporting a wide range of ASEAN’s activities.

To date, Japan has contributed more than US$400 million to the regional grouping.

Speaking at a luncheon at his residence later, Ambassador Yamada noted ASEAN’s role in contributing to a peaceful regional environment, adding that it is precisely this environment, that makes it possible for Asia’s prosperity.

The mission has also launched its website at http://www.asean.emb-japan.go.jp.