MI shares views on the new ASEAN-Japan vision and presents initial findings of the AOTS-funded survey on Mekong Regional Cooperation Frameworks at ASEAN-Japan Business Week 2023

June 5, 2023

On June 5, 2023, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director, Mekong Institute (MI) and Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Director of the Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) Department, attended the “ASEAN-Japan Business Week 2023” in Japan. Themed “Toward Innovative and Sustainable Growth”, the 5-day event aimed to deepen cooperation among the ASEAN and Japanese businesses and engage the audience with the discussion on the new ASEAN-Japan vision.


Unveiled for the first time, the vision, “Realize a secure, prosperous and free economy and society through fair and mutually beneficial economic co-creation, based on the trust established over the past 50 years”, is built upon the diversity and strengths of the ASEAN Member States and Japan to galvanize and advance the two parties’ economies as the relationship enters a new ASEAN-Japan era. Sharing his perspectives on the new vision, Mr. Suriyan stressed that translating the vision into reality remains crucial. Besides engaging with ASEAN, other sub-regional platforms or stakeholders must be tapped into to achieve the desired change.


“Future direction must rest on the many comparative advantages between ASEAN and Japan, particularly in the acceleration of a green and resilient economy. It is important to throw the spotlight on best practices. For example, ESG (environmental, social, governance) is where Japan is doing well and has so much to offer to the region,” added Mr. Suriyan.


To provide the Mekong subregion context, Mr. Dutta presented initial findings from the survey on “Mekong Regional Cooperation Frameworks: Strategies and Responses to Emerging Regional and Global Issues”. Commissioned by The Association for Overseas Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Partnerships (AOTS), he explained that the Mekong region is currently facing various key challenges, particularly in the energy sector as investors are concerned about the use of fossil fuels in the supply chain, among other sectors such as healthcare crisis, supply chain disruptions, labor market gaps, digital inequality, technological disruption, and food security.


Despite the development gaps and the dire outlook, he spoke of new opportunities that are emerging as the subregion works towards post-pandemic recovery, and the need to seek out meaningful collaboration, notably among the ASEAN and Japan stakeholders, using past successes and building on each other’s strengths.


The AJWB was organized by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and related organizations in ASEAN and Japan.


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