"The summit is one of the most important political agendas in our relationship, as well as the celebration of 45 years of Japan and ASEAN relations," Japanese Ambassador to ASEAN Kazuo Sunaga said at the ASEAN Secretariat, here, Monday.
Japan is one of ASEAN`s strategic partners with a broad scope of cooperation in various fields.
In the economic field, the high number of Japanese companies operating in Southeast Asian countries has formed a strong foundation for relations on both sides.
In addition, people exchanges have also become increasingly developed with the increasing number of Japanese tourists visiting Southeast Asia countries, and vice versa.
"I want to see more people exchanges," Sunaga said.
Japan actively participates in the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center) by providing various kinds of assistance, including capacity-building programs.
Japan also successfully carried out the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) initiative, which is a youth exchange program aimed at building a foundation for strong solidarity in Asia.
The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) noted that in the past 45 years, Japan-ASEAN relations have been getting stronger and stronger because the connection was established based on several key principles, such as the Fukuda Doctrine, which was declared in 1977, and also the Five Principles of Japanese-ASEAN Diplomacy, which were declared in 2013.
Based on these principles, Japan promotes the Free and Open Indo-Pacific as a comprehensive concept in its foreign policy.
In his speech entitled Confluence of the Two Seas before the Indian Parliament in 2007, PM Abe underlined that the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy was an important part in realizing the stability and prosperity of the international community.
One of the objectives of this strategy is to build connectivity between Asia and Africa to maintain stability and increase prosperity throughout the regions.
According to Ambassador Sunaga, a free and open Indo-Pacific policy can create prosperity for people in countries in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Japan always tries to promote cooperation with all countries, especially in the economic field for mutual prosperity.
The policy is also expected to bridge good cooperation between Japan and ASEAN, as well as with other Asian and African countries.
Reporting by Yashinta Difa Pramudyani
Editing by Libertina