ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan has said the grouping will stand by Japan in its efforts to overcome difficulties at present and in the future.

Pitsuwan told Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto during their meeting in Jakarta , Indonesia on April 9 following the Special ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting that the recent quake and tsunami in Japan have caused a great loss but they provided an opportunity for ASEAN and Japan to be resolved in standing side-by-side to cope with present and future challenges.

Pitsuwan said he believed that Japan would come through the difficulties as quickly as it rose from the economic and political crisis.

The ASEAN chief went on to say that he will report on ASEAN member states' efforts to support Japan during the 18th and 19th ASEAN Summits this year in Indonesia .

Minister Matsumoto said that Tokyo would coordinate closely with the ASEAN Secretariat to enhance its cooperation with ASEAN in disaster management work.

He added that Japan was also interested in exploring the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum, both of which ASEAN helms, reiterating Japan 's commitment and support to ASEAN Connectivity.

Earlier at the Special ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting, the two sides exchanged views on the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well as consulted with each other about cooperation in natural disaster control and measures to deal with disasters’ aftermaths.

The two sides committed to sharing experience and working together to cope with natural disasters via the current mechanisms, and exchanged view points on the drafts of the ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership Declaration and an action plan for the implementation of the strategic partnership in the 2011-2015 period./.