40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation Commemorative Seminar

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1 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation Commemorative Seminar Keynote Address by Dr. Surin Pitsuwan The Tun Abdul Razak Fellow, , Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford; Former Secretary-General, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) November 11, 2013 Thank you very much for the opportunity to share with you some views and thoughts on the future relationship between ASEAN and Japan. Let me recognize here the presence of the Honorable Keizo Takemi, who has been very supportive in promoting the relationship and cooperation between Japan and ASEAN all along. Let me also convey my sincere appreciation to JCIE President Ken Shibusawa for taking up the challenge as head of JCIE, a very good institutional friend of ASEAN here in Japan. He has been instrumental and extremely helpful in fostering the relationship between ASEAN and Japan, as well as Japan and beyond, and for taking up my suggestion that this very important undertaking the study group on ASEAN and Japan beyond 2015 be named The Yamamoto Study Group in honor and recognition of his significant contributions to the long and mutually beneficial relationship between ASEAN and Japan. I want to thank also H.E. Hitoshi Tanaka and Dr. Jusuf Wanandi for supervising this project until its delivery, with the first half being delivered today and the second half coming sometime in July I also want to thank all those who have been involved in bringing out this report with full intellectual commitment and cooperation. Why do we need a new study of ASEAN-Japan cooperation beyond 2015? Because ASEAN has evolved so much, thanks in large part to the contributions of Japan over the last four and a half decades. When you talk about the structural changes in the economies of ASEAN member states, you are talking about Japan s contribution through direct investments, transfer of technologies, training of human resources, and 1

2 establishment of institutions of higher learning. In the case of Thailand, when Japanese small or medium-sized enterprises came to the country in late 1960s, they found that our human resources were not up to the challenge. Thus, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) decided to help establish a technical institute, the Lard Krabang Technical Institute, near the new airport in Bangkok. This development was possible thanks to the help of the government of Japan and other private sector partners. Since Japan has committed itself to the transformation of the economies of Southeast Asian countries, the evolution and successes of ASEAN requires a new analysis. Now that ASEAN has grown and is celebrating the 40 th anniversary of its relationship with Japan this year, many things have changed. There are different patterns of growth and different players on the landscape. The world has also gone through tremendous economic challenges and transformation. We, ourselves, in Southeast Asia, have gone through our own financial crisis in , during which Japan came to the rescue through the Miyazawa Initiative. Since we began our relationship in 1973, things have changed drastically. New opportunities have emerged, new challenges have arisen. Therefore, we need to look at this relationship from a new perspective that will take into consideration the changes that both sides have undergone. Japan has gone through its own bitter experiences, which the world refers to as the lost two decades. During my tenure at ASEAN, which lasted five years, I had to work with six Japanese Prime Ministers. (During the same period Thailand had five!) The idea for this project came up during those years of my tenure at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. When I arrived at the ASEAN Secretariat in early 2008, I could sense that Japan had been going through its own self-analysis. There was, and may still be, a deep sense of insecurity and uncertainty about its place in the world, in an environment that has changed with the emergence of other players and competitors. Japan s economic and political discontinuity has certainly contributed to the idea that we need this new study, new analysis. Then came the tsunami, in early In the ASEAN countries, we were thinking about how we could respond to Japan in this time of tremendous challenge and uncertainty. The first time that the ASEAN foreign ministers met in a special session to discuss a non-asean-related issue was the meeting with Japan s foreign minister, H.E. Takeaki Matsumoto, after the tsunami. Your foreign minister came to Jakarta while Indonesia was chairing ASEAN, and the ASEAN foreign ministers promised that we would do everything in our power to help Japan recover and look into the future. I told the ASEAN foreign ministers that they could make promises, but that most things that Japan would need from us would have to be delivered by their colleagues, ASEAN s economic ministers. Thus, we convened a meeting of ASEAN s economic ministers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with representatives all Japanese companies doing business in ASEAN, totaling more than 5000 companies, as well as with Japanese chambers of commerce in the region. Eleven groups of Japanese chambers and caucuses were brought together under an umbrella body called the Federation of Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN (FJCCIA). At that meeting, I asked the ASEAN economic ministers to think about a 10-year window to improve Japan-ASEAN economic cooperation. We discussed what incentives, privileges, accommodations, and tax breaks each of the member states of ASEAN would give to Japanese investors and small and mediumsized companies. It was also decided at that meeting that they would take a road show 2

3 to Japan to show solidarity and support for the Japanese people post tsunami. Thus, the ASEAN economic ministers went to Sendai, after my own visit there with the ASEAN youth, in order to see for themselves the devastation and determine what could be done to reciprocate Japan s generosity for our own transformation and prosperity in past decades. This study came out of that situational environment, with the need to strengthen cooperation between ASEAN and Japan. I am glad that we have passed the halfway mark and that this comprehensive report is out. Of course, there is room for improvement, but it has at the very least addressed all of the important issues in the relationship and cooperation, existing and potential, between Japan and ASEAN. With regards to the political-security partnership, Japan has always been a major factor in ASEAN s security issues. Do you remember the crisis in Cambodia and the killing fields in late 1980s and early 1990s? It was Ambassador Yasushi Akashi who led the UN team and UN peacekeepers that tamed the violence in Cambodia. In East Timor, while Japan itself was not present, due to your constitutional requirements, Japan helped financially the ASEAN countries that were able and willing to help the people of East Timor from 1999 until it became an independent state in I remember that episode well because I was the one who negotiated with the Japanese Ambassador to the UN in September 1999, H.E. Yukio Satoh. I also understand that the initiative on the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) benefited from contributions from Japan as did our own intellectuals, the like of Professor Jusuf Wanandi and Professor Carolina Hernandez, both are members of this Study Group. Thus, Japan has always been a part of the security and political dialogue in Southeast Asia and East Asia as a whole. This dialogue will have to continue. There will be other issues in Southeast Asia in which Japan will have a role to play. This role will take various forms and will include areas such as security and peace, strategic cooperation, nontraditional security, human trafficking, illicit drug trade, environmental degradation on land and in the seas, maritime safety and security. The resolution of these issues will require the contributions of Japan. With regards to the economic relations, Japan had been our most important economic partner for a long time. While Japan has now been overtaken by other countries, the economic relationship is still very important, with Japan-ASEAN trade totaling US$255 billion in Japan has the highest level of investment on the ground. We have recently seen an influx of small and medium-size enterprises coming into ASEAN as a result of new policies designed to expand Japan s presence in Southeast Asia. There is room for expansion, but there is also room for improving this relationship with regards to the kinds of investment and technology that come into ASEAN. There are three states in ASEAN that are considered high-income countries, which means having a GDP per capita exceeding US$10,000: Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia, which almost reaches that mark any time now. There are three other countries at risk of being stuck in the middle-income trap: Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In order to get out of that middle-income trap, they need to improve their production systems, the quality of their human resources, as well as their technological and scientific capabilities through research and innovation. There are also problems of intellectual property, for example. If you transfer technology to Southeast Asian countries, there may be intellectual property breaches. Therefore, we will have to strengthen our intellectual property regime. This we will have to work together. However, we have to improve the quality of the economic and trade relationship, as well as the investment pattern between Japan and ASEAN. The new wave of investment in 3

4 Southeast Asia coming from Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is very much welcome, but it also means that ASEAN member states will have to restructure their own economies in order to fully benefit from the new phase of our economic cooperation. At this moment, our perception is that these SMEs are always a part of the larger production chain of major corporations. They produce parts for larger electronic, automobile, and computer companies. At some point, the economic and industrial structure of all these ASEAN countries will have to be adjusted. Some of the technologies could be developed in Southeast Asia and some of the production lines could be moved there, but these economies must also be restructured in order to make them secure, safe, comfortable for you to be part of the sustained growth of the region. ASEAN remains attractive to your investors and business people: we have 600 million consumers and a US$2.5 trillion combined GDP. Yet the room for growth is still very high. By year 2025 we will double our combined GDP to US$4.8 or US$5.0 trillion. That is a big opportunity for the Japanese business community. The third very important pillar that the report addresses is the socio-cultural partnership, which includes education, health, the environment, arts, culture and the people-topeople dimensions. The issue of human security has been an important theme of Japan s international cooperation at least since the late Mr. Keizo Obuchi, who came to Thailand as Minister for Foreign Affairs in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of During his visit, we talked about economic and political support and cooperation. At the end of our conversation, he asked very gently: But how about the ordinary people? How about the students and the children? How do they cope with these economic difficulties in the crisis-hit Southeast Asia? Human security then became his catchword and contribution. Since then, I understand, it has been accepted as an important theme for Japan s international cooperation and relations. This issue will require further cooperation between Japan and ASEAN. And I am sure, Honorable Keizo Takemi will make sure of that. In the last 40 years, thanks to Japan and ASEAN cooperation, Southeast Asia has been able to achieve a high level of prosperity. A large middle-class is emerging in the region and is looking for something different than just wealth, material growth, or GDP growth. Looking around the Asian landscape, we find that Japan is the only country characterized by these high levels of quality of life, self-discipline, work ethics, professionalism in all fields of work, aesthetic values, democracy, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law. These things are extremely important to ASEAN when looking into the future, beyond While I was preparing to come up here, I was following the situation on the streets of Bangkok. They are expecting 300,000 anti-government protesters on the streets this afternoon. On the other side, the so-called red shirts, they expect 100,000 people will join their pro-government rally. That is three to one. It represents a country that has emphasized economic growth instead of equality, equity or inclusivity. The challenge for all of us is to make sure that growth is equitable and that human progress and social development are taken into account as we embark upon our ASEAN Community in That is the essence of the third pillar of the ASEAN community building: the improvement of the human condition, the enlargement of human freedom. I am glad that this pillar is also part of the analysis of this Yamamoto Study Group and that we are looking at how Japan and ASEAN can work together to make sure that the 600 million plus people living in the region will benefit from these social and cultural values that Japan has benefited in your own transformation in the century and a half since the Meiji Transformation. From our perspective, Japan has more than just material growth to contribute. 4

5 I believe ASEAN has become more important to Japan now than it was 40 years ago. Japan has also become more important to us now than you were 40 years ago. This relationship is very special because of its record of peace and prosperity, tremendous potential for future growth and development. In the next phase of the study, we will look at how ASEAN and Japan can come together and expand this relationship beyond Southeast Asia into the entire East Asian region. The previous party in power in Japan was talking about new economic policies and the growth of Asia in general. I am sure the party that recently came to power will continue to look into the larger landscape of East Asia, beyond Japan alone and its relations with Southeast Asia in particular. The 10 member states of ASEAN are very much aware that we can t achieve on our own, alone, the vision that we have set for ourselves. That is why, in the aftermath of the 1997 financial crisis, the three leaders of East Asia came to our Summit for the first time. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we welcomed the Prime Minister of Japan, the Prime Minister of China and the President of South Korea. Due to their proximity, these economies are important to us, which is what led to the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation. We will have to continue to strengthen this structure. In spite of all the challenges that you have here in North East Asia, we need to expand that cooperation with ASEAN to cover the entire East Asian region. Now, regarding what I said about looking for something beyond material or GDP growth, let me just read a short passage from The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura, and I quote: The heaven of modern humanity is indeed shattered in the Cyclopean struggle for wealth and power. Forgetting about the finer things in life, forgetting about the quality of wealth and power, he continues: The world is groping in the shadow of egotism and vulgarity. Egotism and vulgarity, which means harsh, naked wealth and material, without refinement or aesthetic values. This is his judgment: Knowledge is bought through a bad conscience. You want knowledge to empower yourself in order to control nature and to consume more. Knowledge is being acquired through a bad conscience, benevolence practiced for the sake of utility. Compassion? I give to you in order to exploit you more, rather than I give to you out of compassion as fellow human beings.. That is benevolence practiced for the sake of utility. I would say that the acquisition of wealth for the sake of wealth is probably Western. We should not emulate that. We should be more mindful of our own growth. Make it comprehensive, aesthetic, inclusive, and equitable. Okakura continues: The East and West, like two dragons tossed in a sea of ferment, in vain strive to regain the jewel of life. We have to find a new balance. Not just material growth or the increase of new zeros in our bank accounts. We have to make sure that whatever growth we achieve together will be a quality and equitable growth that will contribute to a better life for the majority of our people. The next chapter of this study, which will take a few more months, will examine how to bring these new insights to the entire East Asian region and the global community as a whole. Therefore, this is a new challenge for Japan and ASEAN, as well as a new challenge for the younger generation of Japan and ASEAN. Our success will not be measured by how much we have accumulated, produced, consumed or exported. Our achievement will be measured by how much we have improved the quality of life in our own region, and how much we can be part of the global efforts to achieve better things for the entire humanity. That is the challenge for the younger generation and for the new leaders of Japan and ASEAN. I firmly believe that, together, we are up to the challenge. 5

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