Kick-Off Reception of 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation
The kick-off reception to commemorate the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation was co-hosted by Japan and ASEAN Member States on 18 January 2013, at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, Jakarta. The total number of attendees to the event went over 370, including H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh the Secretary-General of ASEAN, members of Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR), H.E. Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane the Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN, as well as people from ASEAN and Japan who have been involved in a variety of fields including governments, private companies, universities, media etc.
At the opening of the reception, H.E. Ambassador Emaleen Abdul Rahman Teo, Chairperson of the CPR and the Permanent Representative of Brunei Darussalam to ASEAN made some remarks, followed by Secretary-General of ASEAN Mr. Minh’s congratulatory address for the 40th year anniversary of Japan and ASEAN relations. Afterwards, on behalf of the Prime Minister Shinzō Abe who was unable to attend the reception, Ambassador Ishikane delivered his speech. The gist of the speech is as follows:
1. For the last 40 years, Japan has always attached importance to stability and prosperity in Southeast Asia. Japan’s participation in the region in infrastructure improvements, human resource development, contributions to peace in Cambodia, and activities of many private businesses have helped ASEAN’s stability and prosperity as we see today.
2. Marking the 40th anniversary as an important milestone, it is hoped that Japan and ASEAN will continue building warm relations to advance together while supporting one another like family, towards peace and prosperity for the people in Japan and ASEAN.
3. To promote mutual understanding and the exchange of youth which would become the driving force in the future, a youth exchange programme named JENESYS was launched in 2007. The program initiated by Prime Minister Abe has helped exchanging youths from Japan and the Asia Oceania region, including those from ASEAN countries. Following the footsteps of its predecessor, a new youth exchange program named JENESYS 2.0 will be launched and it targets the exchange of 30,000 youths in Asia Pacific region including ASEAN.
During the reception, to further strengthen and develop the ASEAN-Japan relationship and to establish a new partnership for the future together, special booths of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima appealed their respective prefecture in Tohoku-Japan, that are now aiming to recover, reconstruct and move toward the future after devastation. Each booth offered demonstration corners, food exhibitions and so on to represent their home prefecture.
One of the programs in the reception was a session where people from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia who had the experience of studying in Japan conveyed their messages regarding the future relations between Japan and ASEAN by the simultaneous report through internet. Greetings were also delivered by representatives of the ASEAN Youth Caravan of Goodwill that visited Japan and engaged in volunteer activities in the disaster affected areas after the Great East Japan Earthquake in June 2011. Then there was Future Relay Song “Tomorrow ~Love Song~" prepared through the collaboration between a multinational band “Unit Asia”, which is composed of Japanese, Thai and Malaysian musicians, and Fukushima’s Asaka Reimei High School chorus group. The song was performed by representatives of Fukushima’s Asaka Reimei High School chorus group in Japanese, followed by the performance by University of Indonesia Chorus in English.
The year 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation, and the kick-off reception was held as an opening event. Various events are planned to be held in ASEAN Member States and in Japan, leading to the special summit meeting in Japan in December.