Jakarta (VNA) – Japanese Ambassador to ASEAN Chiba Akira has spoken highly of the role of Vietnam as ASEAN Chair in 2020 with the successful organisation of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings despite of COVID-19.

“It must have been tremendously difficult under COVID-19. And we were concerned how it will take place. But Vietnam, through its excellent chairmanship led us to a very good conclusion,” he told Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Jakarta.

He said: “time difference must have been a big task for the Vietnamese government. But all in all, it went very good, very smooth. And exchange of opinion was very frank.”

“It was a tremendous success,” he said.
He expressed his thanks to the Vietnamese government for the organisation of the event, while saying that he believed all participants were satisfied.

He went on “I think especially under COVID-19, this will set a good example to ASEAN as a whole.”
Sharing the message Japan reiterated throughout the summits, Ambassador Chiba said the most important thing is Japan’s support to the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP). The AOIP has many fundamental principles that are shared with Japan's own policy.

He affirmed Japan’s willingness to extend support and help realize the AOIP.

Regarding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which was freshly signed by 10 ASEAN countries and five partners, Chiba emphasised it is a very important instrument for the region to facilitate not only trade, but also issues that will relate to resilience of supply chain.

“RCEP is very important to all of us, of course to Japan. And we look forward to further implementing trade through RCEP,” he said.

According to the diplomat, RCEP, which will cover almost half the population and GDP of the entire world, will help Japan sell many products to all the participating countries. At the same time, Japan is ready to open market to many ASEAN products, and that will mean good news for Japanese consumers.

Ambassador Chiba said Japan is ready to help ASEAN countries in many aspects such as infrastructure building, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that caused economic problems for ASEAN countries.

Japan is also ready to fund projects that relate to vulnerable parts of each community, and plans to continue promoting cooperation programmes in human resources development, he added.

On Japan-ASEAN cooperation outcomes in 2020, the diplomat said the biggest project that Japan has together with ASEAN is the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (AC-PHEED), launched at the Japan-ASEAN Summit.

Relating to policies and strategic orientations for the ASEAN-Japan partnership in the coming time, he underlined the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific issued by ASEAN, saying that Japan is very keen on cooperating with ASEAN through its newly established AOIP./.