ASEAN: Japan working to align with ASEAN 2045 community vision and its strategic plan

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20: Japan will work closely with ASEAN throughout 2024 in an important effort to strengthen regional cooperation and coordinate its actions with the ASEAN 2045 Community Vision and its Strategic Plan.

The alignment is expected to culminate during Malaysia’s tenure as chair of the bloc in 2025, revealed Japan’s Ambassador to ASEAN, Masahiko Kiya.

Ambassador Kiya expressed his hope that Japan’s engagement will enhance the impact of Malaysia’s forthcoming adoption of the vision and strategic plan.

He emphasised Japan’s approach of seeking input from Malaysia, the future ASEAN chair, stating, “Rather than proposing, we aim to listen to Malaysia’s priorities for the chairmanship.”

This announcement was made at the Japan-ASEAN Roundtable on Geopolitical and Geoeconomic Shifts, hosted by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS). The event, marking the 50th anniversary of Japan-ASEAN relations, served as a follow-up to the Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, in December 2023.

During the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Luang Prabang, Laos, at the end of January, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan was reported saying the initiation of the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) Strategic Plan’s formulation had begun.

Malaysia, he noted, is set to adopt the ASEAN 2045 Community Vision and its Strategic Plan at the 46th ASEAN Summit in 2025.

Kiya highlighted Japan’s enduring support for ASEAN, particularly in backing Laos’ chairmanship this year. Japan’s assistance spans various areas, including the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on the Myanmar issue and fostering connectivity resilience, aligning with Laos’ chairmanship theme.

In his keynote speech, Kiya reflected on the five-decade-long Japan-ASEAN partnership, underscoring the need to amplify investments in people-to-people and cultural exchanges. He remarked on ASEAN’s strategic significance to Japan, given its pivotal location in the Indo-Pacific. Kiya praised ASEAN’s evolution into a central figure in the region, attracting global partners and fostering multilayered cooperation.

Further, Kiya envisioned Japan’s role in enhancing ASEAN’s intra-regional trade, suggesting collaboration to develop ‘Made In ASEAN’ products. He also touched upon the shared challenges of pollution and ageing populations, offering Japan’s experience as a valuable resource for ASEAN in addressing these issues.

Founded on August 8, 1967, ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, representing a significant geopolitical and economic bloc in the region.