Volume 31 – November 2023
Greetings from DISG Secretariat
Welcome to Volume 31 of DISG Monthly Newsletter, continuing to keep you updated on ASEAN-Japan related events. As we’re reaching the end of the year 2023, we hope that you all are doing well and enjoying your days.
For the past recent months, we’ve been introducing three Fast Track Pitch Events held in different ASEAN member states. This time, we are excited to present the result of the 4th and the last of this year Fast Track Pitch Event, the “Inno Vietnam-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event 2023”, concluded in the beginning of this month in Vietnam.
Including the 4th Fast Track Pitch Event in Vietnam, this volume will be covering 5 topics, as follows:
- • Report on “Inno Vietnam-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event 2023”
- • Memorandum of Cooperation on Mining Sector Between Japan and the Philippines
- • Diplomatic Updates by Prime Minister Kishida
- • Other Diplomatic Updates
- • Recent Surge in Tensions in the South China Sea
Chair of DISG Task Force
Executive Director, JETRO Singapore
Special Advisor to Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
Report on “Inno Vietnam-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event 2023”
On November 3rd, 2023, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), co-organizing with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Vietnam National Innovation Center, held the “Inno Vietnam-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event 2023” in Hanoi to accelerate global open innovation of Japanese companies and startups.
At the event, more than 350 participants (more than 240 in-person and more than 110 online), 12 startups from Japan, Vietnam, and other regions presented their proposals on the open innovation challenges provided by the 6 challenge owners, including Japanese companies and Vietnamese companies.
Prior to the presentations, Mr. Nishimura Yasutoshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, and Mr. Nguyen Chi Dung, Minister of Planning and Investment, gave opening remarks, stressing the importance of strengthening cooperation for the creation of innovation between the two countries.
■ Pitch Session by the Finalist Startups
During the application period, about 90 startups from all over the world submitted proposals to challenges provided by challenge owner companies, including 6 Japanese companies and Vietnamese companies. From among these, the following 12 startups selected as finalists by each challenge owner presented their proposals.
For more information on each challenge and the finalists' startups, click here (English)
■ Networking Session
At the pitch event venue, participants, including challenge owners, startups, VCs, accelerators, government organizations, and co-organizers, actively engaged in the network session and built networks with other participants. Additionally, the participants highly regarded the seafood products served at the venue, including scallops from Hokkaido, together with Sake, and Shochu.
＜Previous Fast Track Pitch Events＞
1st: Singapore-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event @ Singapore (April 20th, 2023) (LINK)
2nd: Zest Thailand – Thailand-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event 2023 @ Thailand (August 7th, 2023) (LINK)
3rd: Indonesia-Japan Fast Track Pitch Event @ Indonesia (September 1st, 2023) (LINK)
Memorandum of Cooperation on Mining Sector Between Japan and the Philippines
On November 3rd, 2023, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines completed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on the mining sector.
Mr. Nishimura Yasutoshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and H.E. Ms. Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, DENR Secretary, signed the MoC. A document exchange ceremony for the MoC was held corresponding to the visit of Mr. Kishida Fumio, Prime Minister, to Manila, the Philippines, and Mr. Hosaka, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the ceremony. The conclusion of the MoC is expected to contribute to enhancing Japan-Philippines collaboration to facilitate sustainable development in the mining and mineral resources sectors in the two countries. Japan and the Philippines will jointly hold public-private meetings in a continuous manner to confirm progress to be made on cooperative initiatives between the countries.
Through this MoC, Japan and the Philippines seek to enrich cooperation in the mining sector, establish a framework to facilitate dialogues, and cooperate in the following areas:
- • Improvement of mining policy on exploration, development and operation
- • Sharing information on supply-demand of mineral resources, sustainable development of mining, research and development regarding critical minerals, etc.
- • Security in the mining sector
- • Appropriate environmental impact assessment
- • Fair and appropriate business activities
- • Improvements on the environment for investment with the objective of attracting investors
Diplomatic Updates by Prime Minister Kishida
■ Courtesy Call from Secretary-General of ASEAN Kao Kim Hourn
On October 24th, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida received a courtesy call from H.E. Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary-General of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), at the Prime Minister’s Office.
■ Press Conference by Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno
On October 31st, 2023, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno addressed in the Press Conference regarding reports from the Japanese Government. Watch the full conference with provisional translation here.
■ Prime Minister Kishida’s Visit to the Philippines and Malaysia (November 3-5, 2023)
《Overview of the Philippines and Malaysia Visit》
Prime Minister Kishida delivered the press conference regarding his upcoming visit to the Republic of the Philippines and Malaysia, stating that he would exchange views with President Marcos and Prime Minister Anwar on a wide range of issues including bilateral relations and the regional and international situation, with the hope to promote a trusting relationship and strengthen Japan’s relations with the two countries.
As a result, Prime Minister Kishida not only successfully exchanged views on bilateral relations and international situation, but also confirmed the collaboration toward realizing, through a free and open international order based on the rule of law, a world that respects human dignity, as well as toward the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in December. In this context, there has been tangible progress between the Philippines in particular, such as the first Official Security Assistance (OSA) project, the start of negotiations on the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), and maritime security capacity building.
On this occasion, Prime Minister Kishida was the first Prime Minister of Japan to deliver a policy speech to the Congress of the Philippines and took this occasion to convey Japan’s basic policy on next-generation diplomacy towards Southeast Asia, and sent out a clear message on the future of Japan-Philippines and Japan-ASEAN relations to the region and to the international community.
《The Philippines Visit》
○ Visit to the Philippines: First Day
On November 3rd, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida visited Manila in the Republic of the Philippines. The Prime Minister paid a flower tribute at Rizal Park, and afterwards attended the welcoming ceremony at the Malacañan Palace and signed a guestbook. The Prime Minister then held a Japan-Philippines Summit meeting, followed by a Document Exchange Ceremony and a Joint Press Occasion, and afterwards attended a banquet hosted by President Marcos.
○ Visit to the Philippines: Second Day
On November 4th, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida held a meeting with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, before delivering a policy speech at the Joint Session of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives. In the afternoon, the Prime Minister visited the Metro Manila Subway Project construction site and the Philippine Coast Guard.
○ Policy Speech by Prime Minister Kishida at the Joint Session of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives
On November 4th, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida was the first Japanese Prime Minister to delivered a Policy Speech at the Congress of the Philippines. He expressed his honor and his views on Japan’s foreign policy, including strengthening relations with the Philippines and ASEAN. His Policy Speech covered 3 important points as follows;
I. Japan’s Efforts to Address Challenges of the International Community: The Importance of the Philippines and ASEAN
Emphasizing the idea of “human dignity” and expressing Japan’s strong determination to defend “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”. There are “four pillars” in the new FOIP plan. The first of these pillars is to uphold “principles for peace and rules for prosperity.” This is the idea of building “peace” by confirming and promoting the basic principles that the international community should uphold.
II. The 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation
Japan will also promote the third pillar of the new FOIP plan, which is to strengthen “multi-layered connectivity,” as well as promote cooperation in line with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).
III. Progress in Japan-Philippines Relations: From a “Golden Age” to New Heights
- 1. Security and Defense Cooperation, including newly established Official Security Assistance (OSA) and the Japan-Philippines reciprocal access agreement (RAA).
- 2. Economy and Investment, as Japan will continue to support economic and social development, in line with President Marcos’ “Build Better More” program.
- 3. Cooperation on Global Issues, by continuing to promote realistic and practical efforts toward a "world without nuclear weapons,” co-hosting the Commemorative High-Level Event on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) with Foreign Minister Manalo, and the realization of the “Asia Zero Emissions Community (AZEC)” concept.
- 4. Strengthening Japan-Philippines-U.S. Cooperation, of which has been confirmed with President Marcos, U.S. Vice President Harris in September.
In closing, Prime Minister Kishida expressed his deepest gratitude for the warm hospitality on his visit to the Philippines. He believes that it is the responsibility of those living in the present, to take the “heart-to-heart ties” established by the predecessors to new heights and pass them on to the next generation, and promised that he will continue to do his utmost to ensure that the strong friendship between Japan and the Philippines will last and further develop in the future.
○ Other Related Activities and Contributions
In this occasion of the visit to the Philippines, Prime Minister Kishida has also contributed the followings;
I. Contributed Article “Celebrating our ‘special bond of friendship’ with the Philippines” by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio to the Philippine Media (Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer)
The article covered the (1) history of Japan-Philippines Exchange, (2) Filipino spirit of generosity, (3) Japan’s assistance, addressing common issues, and (4) toward further development of bilateral relations and mutual understanding. To read the full article, click here (English).
II. Exchange of Notes concerning the provision of heavy machinery for disaster recovery to the Republic of the Philippines (Grant Aid “Economic and Social Development Program”) (Intended to contribute to disaster recovery)
On November 3rd, 2023, during the Japan-Philippines Summit Meeting held in Manila, the Philippines, in the presence of Mr. Kishida Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, and H.E. Mr. Ferdinand R. Marcos, President of the Republic of the Philippines, the signing ceremony of the Exchange of Notes was held between Mr. Koshikawa Kazuhiko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of the Philippines, and Hon. Mr. Enrique A. Manalo, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, concerning Grant Aid “Economic and Social Development Program” for the provision of heavy machinery for disaster recovery up to 957 million yen.
III. Signing and Exchange of Notes for Official Security Assistance (OSA) to the Republic of the Philippines
On November 3rd, 2023, Mr. Koshikawa Kazuhiko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of the Philippines and Hon. Enrique A. Manalo, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines signed and exchanged notes for 600 million yen in “Official Security Assistance (OSA)” grant aid in the presence of Mr. Kishida Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, and H.E. Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., President of the Republic of the Philippines.
○ Visit to Malaysia
On November 4th, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida visited Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. On the following day, on November 5th, 2023, the Prime Minister signed a guestbook before holding a Japan-Malaysia Summit meeting, followed by a Document Exchange Ceremony and a Joint Press Occasion. Lastly, the Prime Minister attended a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Anwar.
○ Written Interview with Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio by the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama
On November 4th, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida delivered a written interview by the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama.
The interview covered the topics of Malaysia-Japan relationships and the further key priorities in strengthening the ties. He also elaborated about how Japan and Malaysia can enhance economic collaboration to promote innovation and trade to overcome the economic challenges by partnership agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Moreover, Prime Minister Kishida touched upon collaboration toward the issues of regional security and stability, including the “Free and Open Indo Pacific”. Lastly, he discussed about Japan and Malaysia collaboration to address environmental challenges and sustainable development to achieve common goals against climate change.
■ Courtesy Call from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos Saleumxay Kommasith
On November 10th, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida received a courtesy call from H. E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, at the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the outset, Prime Minister Kishida welcomed Deputy Prime Minister Saleumxay’s visit to Japan and expressed his desire to work together to take the “Strategic Partnership” between Laos and Japan to new heights, seizing the opportunity of the Commemorative Summit meeting for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in December, the ASEAN Chairmanship Year of Laos next year, and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Laos and Japan in 2025. In response, Deputy Prime Minister Saleumxay expressed his appreciation for Japan's continued support for Laos’ socioeconomic development and his expectations for further strengthening bilateral relations with Japan.
Prime Minister Kishida stated that Japan will continue to strongly support sustainable and self-sustaining socioeconomic development, including the Cultural Grant Assistance for the Project for the Reconstruction of the Chao Anouvong Stadium approved by the Cabinet today, as well as expressed his desire to work closely with Laos, the ASEAN chair of next year, for the stability and development of the regional and international community. In response, Deputy Prime Minister Saleumxay expressed his desire to further promote cooperation with Japan on bilateral relations and regional and international issues.
Other Diplomatic Updates
■ Inspection of Bangkok Mass Transit System Project (ODA project)
On October 9th, 2023, in Thailand, the transit country for his visit to Mozambique, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Hosaka inspected the “Bangkok Mass Transit System Project in Bangkok (Red Line),” under Japanese ODA loan, and received a courtesy call from Mr. Niruj, Governor of State Railway of Thailand (SRT), and Mr. Sutep, CEO of SRTET (S.R.T. Electrified Train Company Limited).
■ State Minister Horii attended “Malaysia National Day Reception”
On October 11th, 2023, the Malaysian Embassy in Tokyo hosted the “Malaysia National Day Reception”, which was attended by State Minister Iwao Horii.
Following the opening remarks by Malaysian Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Shahril, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Horii made opening remarks, in which he noted that Prime Minister Kishida and Prime Minister Anwar had agreed to work closely together to further strengthen bilateral relations at their meeting held during the ASEAN Summit earlier this year in September. He also noted that, in cooperation with Ambassador Shahril, the two countries would promote cooperation in a wide range of areas, including security, economy, environment, human resources development and exchange, as well as addressing regional and international challenges, and would make efforts to contribute to peace and prosperity in the region and the international community.
■ Japan-Thailand Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Dinner
On October 12th, 2023, Ms. Kamikawa Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, during her visit to Thailand, attended a meeting followed by a dinner with H.E. Dr. Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand.
In the meeting, the two foreign ministers confirmed that Japan and Thailand will work together for the development of ASEAN for the sake of the overall development of the region, and also exchanged views on the international situation, including the situation in Myanmar, to further deepen Japan-ASEAN cooperation. At the dinner, the two ministers agreed to cooperate firmly toward the success of the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in December. Minister Kamikawa also introduced a book she had purchased on Thailand, and the two ministers talked also about the cultural and social aspects of the two countries in a friendly atmosphere.
■ Courtesy call by Mr. Ong, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to Japan, to Mr. Horii, State Minister for Foreign Affairs
On October 12th, 2023, H.E. Mr. Iwao Horii, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, received a courtesy call by H.E. Mr. Ong Eng Chuan, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to Japan.
State Minister Horii expressed his welcome to Ambassador Ong's arrival and his desire to work with the Ambassador, who has worked in Japan and has a wealth of knowledge and experience of Japan, to strengthen Japan-Singapore relations. In response, Ambassador Ong expressed his desire to work for further development of good Japan-Singapore relations. The two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional and international affairs, and confirmed their continued cooperation in preparation for the ASEAN-Japan Special Summit to be held this December.
■ Courtesy Call on Mr. Horii, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, by participants of the Vietnam “Strategic Leaders Training”*
On October 17th, 2023, Mr. Iwao Horii, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, received a courtesy call by a delegation of participants of the “Strategic Leaders Training” of Vietnam, headed by Mr. Hoang Dao Cuong, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, during his visit to Japan.
State Minister Horii welcomed the participants’ visit to Japan amidst the growing momentum of friendship between the two countries as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the relationship. He also noted that bilateral relations have been strengthened in a wide range of areas, including political, security, economic, and human resource exchange, and cooperation in solving regional and international social issues, especially the cooperation in the field of human resource development, including this training program, which is one of the pillars of cooperation between the two countries.
In response, the training participants expressed their high appreciation for Japan's Strategic Leaders Training and gratitude for the support, and stated that they were very pleased with the deepening of Japan-Vietnam relations and would like to continue to strengthen cooperation in all areas.
*”Strategic Leaders Training” in Vietnam (JICA Technical Cooperation Project)
The program aims to contribute to the promotion of administrative reform and economic development, the development of the next generation of Vietnamese leaders, and the building and strengthening of human and organizational networks between Japan and Vietnam through lectures and exchanges of opinions by Japanese experts on knowledge, issues, and initiatives to solve problems associated with Japan's modernization and economic development.
■ Parliamentary Vice-Minister Yoshida Attends the 5th ASEAN-Japan Smart Cities Network High Level Meeting
On October 26th-27th, 2023, the 5th ASEAN-Japan Smart Cities Network High Level Meeting (hereinafter referred to as the “high level meeting”) was held in Ibaraki Prefecture in a hybrid format.
1. The 5th ASEAN-Japan Smart Cities Network High Level Meeting
This “high level meeting”, hosted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Ibaraki, brought together representatives of nine ASEAN Member States, including vice-minister and director-general level officials responsible for infrastructure, those of the cities chosen for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN)*, and those of Japanese companies, municipalities and governmental organizations. Its aim was to encourage these economies and cities to cooperate further through the ASCN.
The high level meeting provided briefings on cooperation efforts between ASEAN cities and Japan, explanations of outstanding case examples of efforts by Japanese companies and cities, business matching events between ASEAN cities and Japanese companies, and other occasions.
*Note: The ASCN is an initiative launched by ASEAN that was inaugurated under the leadership of Singapore, the 2018 ASEAN chair. The initiative aims to promote cooperation toward the development of smart cities. Twenty-nine model cities from ten ASEAN member states were selected.
2. Speech by Parliamentary Vice-Minister Yoshida (video message)
At the opening ceremony of the high level meeting on October 26th, 2023, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Yoshida delivered a speech in the form of a video message. He explained the position of smart cities defined in the ASEAN-Japan Future Design and Action Plan formulated in August 2023 and also introduced adopted case examples of the Feasibility Study (FS) on quality infrastructure related to Disaster Prevention: Resilience as a theme of this meeting.
■ Japan-Cambodia Foreign Ministers’ Telephone Talk
On October 30th, 2023, Ms. Kamikawa Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a telephone talk with H.E. Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Minister Kamikawa and Deputy Prime Minister Sok Chenda Sophea congratulated each other on their appointments to their respective positions. Deputy Prime Minister Sok Chenda Sophea expressed his gratitude for Japan’s great contribution and assistance to Cambodia’s peace, restoration and economic development, and Minister Kamikawa expressed her desire to work with him to strengthen the “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” between Japan and Cambodia and to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order based on the rule of law. The two ministers confirmed they would work together towards strengthening the bilateral relationship and promoting regional connectivity.
■ The 6th meeting of the “Japan-Viet Nam Joint Committee on Cooperation in Industry, Trade and Energy”
On November 3rd, 2023, the 6th Japan-Viet Nam Joint Committee on Cooperation in Industry, Trade and Energy was held, co-chaired by Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura and Minister of Industry and Trade H.E. Nguyen Hong Dien.
In the past, the committee has held discussions on a variety of cooperation initiatives in the fields of industry, trade, and energy at the ministerial level. At this Committee meeting, the Ministers agreed to establish a working group to develop future oriented co-creation projects and strengthen supply chain resilience, and also discussed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and other cooperation, the realization of energy transition through the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC), cooperation in rare earths, and other issues, and confirmed that both countries will further fortify bilateral efforts.
■ Parliamentary Vice-Minister Komura attended “Malaysia Fair 2023”
On November 3rd, 2023, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiro Komura attended the opening ceremony of “Malaysia Fair 2023” organized by the Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo.
Following opening remarks by Malaysian Ambassador H.E. Shahril, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Komura delivered his opening remarks. In his remarks, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Komura noted that last year marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Malaysia and the 40th Anniversary of the Look East Policy (LEP). He also noted that this is the largest event in Japan to introduce Malaysia and that Prime Minister Kishida will visit Malaysia and other countries on the same day. Moreover, he stated that Malaysia is extremely important to Japan as a strategic partner in the ASEAN region and as a good friend.
■ Meeting with Minister of Planning and Investment Dung
On November 3rd, 2023, during the meeting with Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, the two sides exchanged views on the creation of industries of future leading players, the acceleration of innovation, including partnership activities with startups, e.g., the Fast Track Pitch event, cooperation related to energy, e.g., AZEC, and other issues. The two countries will continue to promote their efforts in this area.
At the venue of the Fast Track Pitch event, Minister Nishimura, together with Minister Dung, visited an exhibition of Japanese fishery products displayed by JETRO, and he encouraged Viet Nam to expand consumption of these products.
■ Meeting with Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Supamas
On November 4th, 2023, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura met with Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Supamas to exchange views on the development of future industries and the industrial human resources that support them, collaboration between companies in both countries to create innovation, and increasing imports and consumption of Japanese marine products. The two ministers confirmed that they would strengthen cooperation in these areas.
■ Attending Rock Thailand #5
On November 4th, 2023, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura participated in “Rock Thailand,” a pitch event aimed at business matching between Japanese startups and Thai conglomerates, and delivered opening remarks.
“Rock Thailand” is a pioneering initiative to create innovation based on the solid economic relationship between Japan and Thailand. The event aimed to support strategic partnership between Japan and Thailand to create innovation and contribute to solving social issues in ASEAN and the world, through exchanging opinions with startups and other speakers at the event.
At “Rock Thailand”, startups from a variety of fields, including manufacturing, AI, decarbonization, biotech, and DX, made their pitches, while those of corporate venture capitals (CVCs) owned by Thai state-run companies and conglomerates held a panel discussion to showcase new types of sought-after core technologies.
■ Parliamentary Vice-Minister Komura attended the “Reception to Commemorate Cambodia's Independence Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Japan-Cambodia Diplomatic Relations”
On November 9th, 2023, a reception was held at the Hotel New Otani to commemorate Cambodia's Independence Day and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Cambodia, hosted by the Embassy of Cambodia in Tokyo, with Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiro Komura in attendance, representing the Japanese government.
At the opening ceremony, Ambassador Tuy Ry, Cambodian Ambassador to Japan, Masahiro Komura, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Masahiro Imamura, Chairman of the Japan-Cambodia Parliamentary Friendship Association, delivered remarks.
In his opening remarks, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiro Komura congratulated Cambodia and Japan on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and noted that this year the bilateral relationship has been upgraded to a "comprehensive strategic partnership" and expanded from social and economic infrastructure support to a wide range of fields including security, digital and cyber security. He also stated that the two countries will further promote cooperation in regional and international areas.
Moreover, at the ceremony, singer Yoko Minamino, the “Goodwill Ambassador for the 70th Anniversary of Japan-Cambodia Friendship” from Japan side, performed “Rainbow for Tomorrow” (Ashita He No Niji), a song written to commemorate the 70th anniversary.
■ Japan-Laos Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Dinner
On November 10th, 2023, Ms. Kamikawa Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a bilateral meeting and dinner with H.E. Mr. Saleumxay kommasith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, during his visit to Japan.
Minister Kamikawa expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome during her visit to Laos last month, and Deputy Prime Minister Saleumxay expressed his pleasure to see Minister Kamikawa again following last month, and his gratitude to Japan for its invitation and hospitality. They both expressed desire to continue collaboration on strengthening bilateral relations and in addressing regional and international issues.
For Bilateral Relations, Minister Kamikawa referred to Japan's support for Laos' socioeconomic development so far and stated that Japan would like to continue to support Laos' sustainable and self-sustaining socioeconomic development, including its support for Laos' efforts to address fiscal stabilization. She also stated that Japan would like to continue to cooperate with Laos to promote investment by Japanese companies. In addition, the two foreign ministers shared their view to continue to promote cultural exchange and people-to-people exchange.
For Regional and International Affairs, shared their view on the importance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law and the importance of resolving issues through peaceful means, including the strengthening of ASEAN Connectivity, North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues and the abductions issue, the situation in the East and South China Seas, Myanmar, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Israel and Palestine. Minister Kamikawa also stated that she strongly supports Laos' slogan of "Enhancing Connectivity and Resilience" as the ASEAN chair for 2024, and the two ministers also concurred in working together tirelessly toward the Commemorative Summit meeting for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in December and ASEAN-related meetings next year under the Lao chairmanship.
■ Signing and Exchange of Notes concerning Japan's Cultural Grant Assistance to the Lao People's Democratic Republic for “the Project for the Reconstruction of the Chao Anouvong Stadium”
On November 10th, 2023, in Tokyo, Ms. Kamikawa Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and H.E. Mr. Saleumxay kommasith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, signed and exchanged notes concerning Japan's Cultural Grant Assistance up to the amount of 4.171 billion yen for “the Project for the Reconstruction of the Chao Anouvong Stadium” and its auxiliary facilities located in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, and to provide them with necessary equipment.
It is expected to promote the use of the stadium by athletes and a wide range of citizens by strengthening the barrier-free and other functions and improving the safety of the facilities, as well as to contribute to the correction of disparities through balanced urban and rural development that takes environmental and cultural conservation into consideration, by improving the urban environment based on Japan’s Country Assistance Policy for Laos.
Recent Surge in Tensions in the South China Sea
Japan expresses serious concern for actions which increase regional tensions including a dangerous action that caused a collision between Chinese and Filipino ships on October 22nd, 2023.
Japan believes that the issue concerning the South China Sea is directly related to the peace and stability of the region and is a legitimate concern of the international community including Japan, and thus Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force as well as any actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea.
As stated in the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement in February 2023, the Government of Japan concurs with the Philippines’ long-standing objections to unlawful maritime claims, militarization, coercive activities and threat or use of force in the South China Sea. Furthermore, Japan highly appreciates the Government of the Philippines for having consistently complied with the Arbitral Tribunal’s award as to the disputes between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China regarding the South China Sea and shown its commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea, as stated in the statement by the Foreign Minister of Japan issued on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the issuance of the award.
Japan has consistently advocated upholding the rule of law at sea and re-emphasizes the importance of efforts toward a peaceful resolution of disputes based on international law. Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community such as ASEAN Member States and the United States to protect free, open, and peaceful seas.