"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] Contributed Article "Co-creating the future of the Indo-Pacific based on trust" by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio to the Indonesian Newspaper Kompas on the Occasion of The Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation

[Date] December 15, 2023
[Source] Cabinet Public Affairs Office, Cabinet Secretariat
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

I would like to extend warm greetings to the people of the Republic of Indonesia. I am KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan. If I may, I would like to start with a word of respect for Indonesia's successful chairpersonship in the ASEAN-related meetings throughout this year. I would also like to express my gratitude for the Indonesian people's warm welcome I received during my visit to Indonesia to attend the ASEAN-related summit meetings last September.

This weekend, I will be hosting the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit marking the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. It is my great pleasure to welcome President Joko to Tokyo from Indonesia on this historic occasion.

Japan initiated dialogue with ASEAN in 1973, ahead of the rest of the world. Since then, Japan has walked alongside ASEAN including Indonesia on its path of development and integration. Japan has supported the development of the ASEAN region through development cooperation in various fields. Japan and ASEAN are each other's major trading partners, and Japan is the second largest direct investor in ASEAN after the United States. In recent years, Japanese direct investment in ASEAN has averaged about 2.8 trillion yen annually. Japanese companies have approximately 15,000 business establishments in ASEAN, bringing the vitality of the fast-growing ASEAN region into the Japanese economy and also creating products, services and employment in ASEAN countries, thus contributing to their economic development. Turning our attention to Indonesia, we find around 2,000 Japanese companies are operating in Indonesia. They have created jobs for 7.2 million of Indonesian people and have produced 8.5% of Indonesia's GDP and 25% of its imports. Japan is also the second largest direct investor in Indonesia on a cumulative basis. The two countries have built very close economic relations for more than 50 years including through the aforementioned private economic activities.

Japan-Indonesia and Japan-ASEAN relationships go beyond business. The foundation of Japan-ASEAN relations as true friends is a relationship of mutual trust with "heart-to-heart" connections. It has been nurtured over the years through "people-to-people" exchanges in a wide range of fields. Both the public and private sectors have continued to make concrete efforts in various youth and international student exchanges.

In addition, Japan and ASEAN have reached out to each other and have been "trusted partners" through many challenges such as the 1997 Asian currency crisis, the 2004 Sumatra earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and the COVID-19 pandemic from 2019. In a survey of public opinion in ASEAN countries by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a prominent ASEAN think tank, Japan has been voted the most trusted major power for ASEAN countries for five consecutive years.

The international community is now at a turning point in history, and the free and open international order based on the rule of law is under serious challenge. We also face complex and compounding challenges such as climate change, inequality, public health crises, digitalization, and AI governance. I look forward to working more closely than ever with the people of ASEAN based on strong "trust" to "co-create" a peaceful and stable world where everyone can live with dignity and also a sustainable and prosperous future.

At the conclusion of the 50th Year of ASEAN-JAPAN Friendship and Cooperation, I would like to summarize the past half century of ASEAN-Japan relations, and to set out a new vision and concrete cooperation for the future at the Commemorative Summit that will welcome the leaders of ASEAN countries to Tokyo on December 16-18, 2023.

In particular, Japan would like to propose a comprehensive exchange program to connect and strengthen "heart to heart" partnerships for the next generation, new initiatives to co-create solutions to the challenges shared by our economies and societies, efforts to address climate change such as further promotion of the Asian Zero Emission Community initiative, and industrial cooperation.

I would like to make this historic Commemorative Summit a "Golden Opportunity" to carry our "Golden Friendship" into the next generation.

Furthermore, this year also marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Japan-Indonesia diplomatic relations. It is indeed a great pleasure for me to have concurred with President Joko in our bilateral meeting last September to elevate the bilateral relationship which has developed in various areas thus far to a Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership with the longstanding friendship and cooperation as its foundation. Japan will further strengthen the cooperative relations with Indonesia in broad-ranging areas including not only economy but also maritime affairs and security.

While further develop the bilateral cooperation with Indonesia in a wide range of areas under the Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership, Japan will continue to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the international community. Earlier this year, I hosted G7 Hiroshima Summit where President Joko also kindly participated at its outreach meeting and we confirmed with other participating leaders to work together in tackling regional and global challenges such as the issues of food, climate change and energy. Indonesia is a major country in the region and is playing an important role in the international community. Japan would like to further collaborate with Indonesia in addressing these issues.

Amid such severe and complex situation in the international community as present, I am convinced that the further strengthening of the Japan-Indonesia cooperative relations will become even more relevant. It is obvious that Indonesia, ASEAN and Japan will remain extremely important partners. I am determined to construct closer relations with Indonesia and ASEAN under the newly launched Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.