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5 - ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership and Regional Integration: Impacts and Implications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2015

Moe Thuzar
Affiliation:
ISEAS
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

ASEAN-Japan cooperation, through Japan's milestone doctrines that set the direction for regional cooperation, has positively affected ASEAN's efforts for regionalism, including the role of ASEAN-dominated processes like the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Plus Three (A+3), and the East Asia Summit (EAS) in enhancing cooperation. These processes contribute to addressing issues and challenges faced by ASEAN and the region, and provide new opportunities for ASEAN leadership in the 21st century. Japan's role in these processes, based on the “heart-to-heart” principles of the 1977 Fukuda Doctrine, served as a bridge, initially between the no-ncommunist ASEAN states and communist/socialist non-ASEAN mainland Southeast Asian states, and evolving gradually into constructive support for ASEAN's growth and development as the grouping's membership expanded. Japan has been most active under the A+3 framework, assisting the ASEAN countries in addressing emerging human security and development issues.

Japan has an important role in moving forward key regional processes with ASEAN. Through the ASEAN initiatives, which are complemented by sub-regional and bilateral collaboration, Japan is helping ASEAN members build national capacities to complement their regional commitments. Japan is also assisting the newer ASEAN members integrate fully into the ASEAN mainstream by sharing Japan's nation-building and development experience in areas such as economic modernization, democratization, governance, and accountability.

The recent policy statement by Prime Minister Abe on Japan's new foreign policy pillars, which focus on partnerships in the (East Asia) region for economic prosperity, provides the vision for this enhanced role in moving forward the ASEAN-Japan strategic partnership at many levels.

An important element in ASEAN-Japan relations is the integration of ASEAN's newer members, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam (collectively referred to as “CLMV”), into ASEAN. Since the 1990s, Japan has implemented focused policies and strategies to enhance the development of the CLMV to facilitate their integration into ASEAN. The Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity provides fresh impetus to infrastructure development in the CLMV. Japan's participation in these processes takes several forms, including initiatives under the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) program of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI). Complementary to the IAI, the Mekong-Japan Economic and Industrial Cooperation Initiative provides another framework for Japan's partnership with the CLMV countries, to help develop the CLMV sub-region into an integrated destination for Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI).

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Chapter
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Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2013

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