Japan pledged its continued strong support to ASEAN Community building efforts today.

Foreign Minister of Japan, H.E. Fumio Kishida, said that Japan would also consider the needs of ASEAN beyond 2015 to support the continued integration of ASEAN to ensure the region remained competitive and promote equitable development.

H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, met the Minister Kishida at the sidelines of the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting and related Meetings in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Minister Kishida highlighted that in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in December this year, Japan would host an ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in December 2013.

“Japan will ensure that the Summit will come up with fruitful outcomes,” added Minister Kishida.

In noting that the Commemorative Summit would issue an outcome document outlining the medium-to-long term vision of ASEAN-Japan Dialogue Relations, SG Minh underscored the need for the Commemorative Summit to provide future direction on how to sustain the ASEAN-Japan multi-dimensional relations.

He highlighted that ASEAN and Japan should develop more concrete projects and activities to effectively implement the ASEAN-Japan Plan of Action (2011-2015) and to further support ASEAN integration, narrowing the development gaps, as well as the ASEAN Community building by 2015.

SG Minh expressed hope for Japan to extend the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) beyond 2013 to help ASEAN realise the ASEAN Community by 2015. In response, Minister Kishida said that Japan would look into the matter.

During the meeting,Minister Kishida extended his invitation to SG Minh to pay an official visit to Japan later this year.