ASEAN economic ministers met with a Japanese delegation during the 29th ASEAN Economic Ministers-Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan Consultation in Semarang, Central Java, on Tuesday.
The consultation was co-chaired by Indonesian Deputy Minister of Trade, Jerry Sambuaga, and Japanese State Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Nakatani Shinichi.
The meeting highlighted the necessity of enhancing energy cooperation in pursuit of net-zero emissions or carbon neutrality. This includes focusing on energy efficiency, energy conversion, electrification, and decarbonization of the power and transportation sectors, as per a joint media statement released on Tuesday.
The meeting also acknowledged Japan's initiatives, such as the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC), aimed at promoting such cooperation.
AZEC is a platform for Asian countries striving to achieve carbon neutrality through cooperation. Japan has committed to providing financial support of up to US$8 billion until 2030 for projects, such as renewable energy and energy-saving initiatives.
AZEC countries comprise Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
During the meeting, ASEAN and Japan also looked forward to the implementation of the "Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI)," which includes a wide range of bilateral support for energy transitions in Asia.
AETI, launched in 2021, initially supported the efforts of ASEAN countries to achieve net-zero emissions, including the provision of financial assistance of US$10 billion for renewable energy projects.
The meeting agreed that such initiatives can contribute to achieving a practical energy transition to address climate change and ensure energy security by leveraging Japan's experiences in multiple areas, including energy transition road map formulation and human resource development.
According to ASEAN's preliminary data, the total two-way trade between ASEAN and Japan reached US$268 billion in 2022.
In 2022, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from Japan to ASEAN amounted to US$27 billion, making Japan ASEAN's fourth-largest trading partner and second-largest external source of FDI among ASEAN's dialogue partners.
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