Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
On September 9, commencing at 7:45 p.m. (Japan time) for approximately 70 minutes, the Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held in an online format. Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended from Japan and co-chaired the meeting alongside H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
During opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Minh of Vietnam welcomed the steady progress achieved in Japan-ASEAN cooperation and expressed his hope to further develop the strategic partnership between Japan and ASEAN. In response, Minister Motegi stated that as each country endeavors to combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Japan, as a true friend of ASEAN, intends to cooperate closely to overcome this difficult situation.
As a concrete measure, he expressed his aim to fully support the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for emerging diseases and public health emergencies. As the flagship of Japan-ASEAN cooperation it aims to protect the people of ASEAN from the threat of infectious diseases, jointly develop the Centre as a hub for counter measures against infectious diseases in ASEAN for years to come. Minister Motegi also expressed Japan’s support for and cooperation with the establishment of the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, which aims to procure medical supplies and develop vaccines, and announced that Japan had decided to donate US$1 million as its own contribution.
On behalf of ASEAN, Deputy Prime Minister Minh reviewed the outcomes of Japan-ASEAN cooperation in the fields of political security, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural cooperation, and expressed his hopes for future progress. Subsequently, the ASEAN countries expressed their gratitude for Japan’s support to ASEAN, including the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for emerging diseases and public health emergencies and the contribution to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and expressed their hope for future cooperation by means of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).
In response, Minister Motegi explained that USD 50 million had been allocated for establishing the ASEAN Centre for emerging diseases and public health emergencies and that he hoped to accelerate the review process so that it can be launched as soon as possible. Minister Motegi concluded by saying that the response to COVID-19 has further reinforced the ties between the people of ASEAN countries and the people of Japan, and that he hoped to continue to enhance the cooperation between Japan and ASEAN in a variety of areas.