Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he aims to deepen ties between his country and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations through a new initiative of sending about 3,000 Japanese language teachers to the region by 2020.

Speaking at a launching ceremony for the programme by the Japan Foundation on April 16 in Tokyo , PM Abe said he hopes the younger generations in Japan and other Asian countries will build their bonds through sympathy and friendship, sharing the same dreams for the future and beginning the next stage in relations.

The programme under the foundation's newly launched Asia Center was made possible following a special summit in Tokyo last December between Abe and leaders from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Japanese language teachers will be sent to high schools in the ASEAN countries, according to the body promoting international cultural exchanges of Japan.

A total of 30 billion JPY (roughly 294 million USD) will be allocated to the new project, which will also include supporting young artists in Asian countries, preserving cultural heritage sites in the region and promoting academic exchanges.-VNA