ASEAN chief says integration offers potential for Japanese businesses

Kyodo

Japan’s continued support for economic integration among the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is vital and will pay off for Japanese companies in the region, according to ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh.

Minh said at a news conference Wednesday that boosting connectivity among ASEAN members presents “greater opportunities in the interest of Japanese businesses in ASEAN.”

He said ASEAN economic integration will not only bolster exchanges between the 10 member countries and Japan but also broaden ties with the grouping’s other dialogue partners and all of East Asia.

The group wants to create what it calls the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. With that in mind, the leaders of ASEAN and Japan will issue a vision statement designed to “further enhance our partnership” when they meet in Tokyo next month for a special summit to mark 40 years of diplomatic ties, Minh said.

Minh is on a four-day visit to Japan from Tuesday to prepare for the Dec. 13-15 summit. On the first day of his visit, he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and they confirmed they will cooperate closely to make the summit a success.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.