Japan’s White Paper on the Official Development Assistance (ODA) 2014 released on March 13 highlighted the importance of the country’s cooperation with ASEAN to ensure the national security, according to Kyodo News.

Accordingly, the Japanese Government continues to affirm ASEAN as an "extremely important market and place for investment for Japan" and notes that the distribution network for goods "underpinning the Japanese economy runs through the ASEAN region."

The paper also states that "Achieving growth and stability in ASEAN has a great significance as well to Japan's security when thinking about how the distribution network for goods underpinning the Japanese economy runs through the region."

In its White Paper 2013 released in February 2014, Japan called on ODA reinforcement for Asia and Africa, stressing that supporting the ASEAN state members is an effective investment in the future which benefits both sides.

In 2013, Japanese ODA stood at 22.53 billion USD, up 20.7 percent from a year ago, only ranking behind the US.

With a combined population of over 600 million residents, ASEAN is among key recipients of Japan’s ODA every year.-VNA