"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Statement by Makiko Tanaka, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on the occasion of the ASEAN+3 Meeting

[Place] Hanoi
[Date] July 24, 2001
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. Principles of ASEAN+3 Cooperation

Japan welcomes the progress in ASEAN+3 cooperation. Although each country in the region has its own difficult problems, we should make the most of ASEAN+3 process to find common ground and promote cooperation among ourselves. It is also necessary that the dialogue and cooperation undertaken through ASEAN+3 framework should be "open" in the sense that it should be transparent to non-member countries and coherent and complementary to the global system.

The ASEAN+3 process is expanding and developing. Under the Summit Meeting, several Ministerial Meetings are also being organized, including a Foreign Ministers', Financial Ministers', Economic Ministers' and Labor Ministers' Meeting. An Agricultural Ministers' Meeting is also being planned. Japan hopes that these meetings will produce concrete results. With various kinds of meetings being held in the framework of ASEAN+3, I think it necessary for Foreign Ministers to coordinate them within the ASEAN+3 process as a whole when necessary.

Japan will continue contributing to a reinforcement of dialogue and cooperation through ASEAN+3.

2. Views on Regional and International Issues and Development

2.1. The Asian economy (especially the Japanese economy)

Although the Asian economy has rapidly recovered from the financial crisis of 1997, economic prospects in Asia are not bright. Japan considers that continued reforms in each country are the way to realize strong economic development.

Japan is implementing economic reforms, leaving no areas untouched, in line with the belief that "without structural reforms there can be no economic revitalization". More specifically, Japan hopes to fundamentally solve the non-performing loan problems within two or three years, based on our "Basic Policies on Structural Reform," and implement a package of reform programs. Japan hopes that the recovery of the Japanese economy, to be realized by such reform efforts, will contribute to the economic growth of all of Asia.

At the G8 Summit meeting in Genoa, Prime Minister Koizumi stressed on his firm convince that Japanese economy regains its potential power and shares its responsibility for the global economy by promoting such reforms. Leaders of other G8 countries responded with strong support for Japanese policy.

Japan has been contributing to the promotion of industry and employment in Asia through its foreign direct investments. In order to continue such cooperation, Japan hopes for an improvement in the environment for investment in each country.

2.2. China's accession to the WTO

Japan welcomes China's expected accession to the WTO in the near future and will continue to cooperate with other countries in the region, including China, so that trade and investment will develop further in accordance with international rules and regulation.

2.3. UN reform

Let me say a few words on the UN reform. Mr. Han, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, is going to be the next president of the General Assembly. I hope that all Asian countries will back up Mr. Han in his work on various issues including the Security Council reform.

2.4. Indonesia

Japan welcomes that the new President has been chosen by the representatives of the Indonesian public in a democratic and transparent manner. Japan recognizes that stability of Indonesia is essential for that of the Asia-Pacific region, and it will continue to support Indonesia's reform efforts.

Japan supports territorial integrity of Indonesia and hopes that the Government of Indonesia will solve problems in local provinces such as Aceh and Irian Jaya peacefully, giving utmost consideration to human rights situations.

2.5. Korean Peninsula

As for the situation on the Korean Peninsula, we have seen positive developments, including the progress in the North-South Dialogue after the historic inter-Korean Summit Meeting held in June last year as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations between North Korea and some European countries.

We expect that such positive developments continue and that the concerns on security issues as well as humanitarian and human rights issues will be cleared away.

We continue to support President Kim Dae-jung's policy of engagement with North Korea, and intend to make steady and continuous efforts toward the normalization talks between Japan and North Korea, in close coordination with the Republic of Korea and the United States.

At the G8 Summit Meeting in Genoa, a clear message reflecting Japan's position that I have just mentioned was delivered with the support of all G8 countries.

3. Review of the Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation

3.1. Review of the Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation

The "Joint Statement", adopted at the Summit meeting in 1999, shows the future direction of regional cooperation. Japan is active in its efforts in this regard. Moreover, Japan regards it as important to promote cooperation steadily in all the fields mentioned in the Statement.

Furthermore, Japan recognizes the importance of the "Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI)" which ASEAN countries are actively promoting. In this regard, I would like to explain Japan's position in two specific areas; these are Information Technology (IT) and the Mekong Basin Development.

3.2. IT

As for IT, Japan highly appreciates the efforts of ASEAN countries in this field, which include signing of the "e-ASEAN framework agreement". Based on the efforts of ASEAN, Japan would like to promote cooperation with the ASEAN countries.

Japan is realizing the "Comprehensive Cooperation Package to Address the International Digital Divide" with emphasis on cooperation with Asia. Based on the outcomes of various consultations, concrete projects are now taking shape.

Japan will also host an "East Asia IT Cooperation Conference" in Okayama prefecture in Japan, in September 2001. Japan would like to have active participation and cooperation from each country at this Conference.

3.3. Mekong Basin Development

Japan will continue its active support of the Mekong Basin Development, which strengthens the integration of ASEAN by narrowing the gap between new and original member countries.

However, it is necessary for the countries concerned to have discussions in order to rationalize many existing organizations and frameworks for the development, while selecting and formulating a new flagship project.

From this viewpoint, Japan dispatched a government mission, jointly with Asian Development Bank (ADB), to the riparian countries last week and had intensive consultations.

Based on the outcome of the mission, Japan will specifically examine what kind of cooperation Japan can extend in order to promote sustainable development, while taking into consideration environmental impacts.

3.4. Other matters

While I will touch upon the issue in detail in the ASEAN+10 meeting day after tomorrow, in the framework of ASEAN+3, Japan would also like to address transnational issues such as piracy, drugs, trafficking in persons, the environment and HIV/AIDS and to produce outcomes steadily.

For the prosperity and stability of Asia over the middle- and long- term, it is becoming more important to ensure energy security by consolidating efforts. I believe it is necessary for ASEAN+3 countries to work on this issue actively.