The year 2013 marks the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. ASEAN and Japan's cooperative partnership began in 1973 with the establishment of ASEAN-Japan forum on synthetic rubber.
ASEAN and Japan formalized their relations in 1977 with the convening of the ASEAN-Japan Forum. In the same year, then Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda visited the Philippines and announced the Fukuda Doctrine which became the anchor of ASEAN-Japan partnership. He stated that Japan, would never become a military power, would forge heart-to-heart understanding with ASEAN and would be equal partner of ASEAN and its member countries.
The newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan visited several ASEAN member states, as the destination of their first trip overseas (Foreign Minister Kishida visited the Philippines on January 9-10.) The visits showed Japan's given priority and importance to the ASEAN. This is highlighted by Prime Minister Abe's speech on January 18, 2013 which sets forth the Five Principles of Japan's ASEAN Diplomacy: http://www.mofa.go.jp/announce/pm/abe/abe_0118e.html
(1) Firstly, to protect and promote together with ASEAN member states universal values, such as freedom, democracy and basic human rights.
(2) Secondly, to ensure in cooperation with ASEAN member states that the free and open seas, which are the most vital common asset, are governed by laws and rules and not by force, and to welcome the United States' rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region.
(3) Thirdly, to further promote trade and investment, including flows of goods, money, people and services, through various economic partnership networks, for Japan's economic revitalization and prosperity of both Japan and ASEAN member states.
(4) Fourthly, to protect and nurture Asia's diverse cultural heritages and traditions.
(5) And fifthly, to promote exchanges among the young generations to further foster mutual understanding.
Prime Minister Abe announced a new youth exchange program with ASEAN countries, including ASEAN members, involving 30,000 people under the name of “JENESYS 2.0,” renewing the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS). JENESYS started in 2007 and about 14,000 people were involved in the exchange program with the ASEAN countries.
The ASEAN-Japan Commemorating Summit Meeting will be held on December 2013 in Tokyo, where President Aquino is expected to attend. On this occasion, Japan and ASEAN leaders will reflect upon the past 40 years of cooperation in order to promote concrete cooperation in the enhancement of ASEAN connectivitym disaster management, youth exchange and other fields so as to proactively support ASEAN community building by 2015.
To promote ASEAN-Japan relations, various events were prepared for the year-long celebration of the anniversary. As the inauguration of such events, “Naoshima Onna Bunraku” Puppet Theater will be held on February 11 at Intramuros: ( http://www.ph.emb-japan.go.jp/pressandspeech/press/pressreleases/2013/13.htm )
2013 Calendar of Activities