The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is set to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of this year, with the goal of creating a single market and production base encompassing over 600 million people. Japan, which has built friendly relations with ASEAN members and enjoys close trade and economic ties with the region, should provide effective support for the plan to help the group achieve better economic progress.

ASEAN was established in August 1967 by Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore mainly for political and security reasons. As time went on, it turned itself into an organization for wider regional cooperation, including economic integration.

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