• Kyodo

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Economic ministers from Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have agreed on a 10-year economic cooperation plan centered on cooperation between Japan and the 10-member grouping to support the creation of new industries by private enterprise in the ASEAN region.

The ASEAN Economic Community, which aims at integrating members into a single market, was launched late last year with the aims of sustainable economic growth and reducing the inequality among the member countries. In accordance with these aims, Japan intends to boost ASEAN’s growth and increase its presence in the region.

Japan seeks to support new industries utilizing Japan’s manufacturing prowess and the creation of new businesses in the health and medical fields. Consultations will be held at the national level to reform systems hampering the entry of foreign companies.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters after Saturday’s meeting in Vientiane that he hopes Japan and ASEAN “will stimulate each other, help each other and growth together.”

At the meeting, agreement was also reached on strengthening cooperation on infrastructure development, including the building of roads and railways, areas where Japan has placed emphasis.

Regarding the trade pact known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India have been negotiating since May 2013, the ministers also agreed to aim for the “realization of a high-quality agreement.”

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