A Happy New Year!
The ASEAN-Japan Centre was established in 1981 with an agreement between the Governments of the ASEAN Member States and Japan to embody the Fukuda Doctrine (1977), which emphasized the “heart-to-heart relations” and “equal partnership” between the two parties. It has been working to strengthen economic partnership between the ASEAN Member States and Japan in trade, investment and tourism, as well as exchanges of persons through organizing seminars, workshops and capacity-building programs, research and policy analysis, cultural events, publications and information services, among others. As “equal partnership” between the ASEAN Member States and Japan is becoming a reality and now taking on more significance than ever with ASEAN GDP today being equivalent to 60 % of Japan’s, the Centre is expected to play a new role to further enhance the ASEAN-Japan relations, and is required to implement timely activities that well reflect the needs of the member states.
Since I assumed the post of the Secretary General of the Centre in September 2015, I have been making efforts to transform the Centre for the better, by making it more relevant, efficient, effective and impactful. As the chief administrator of the Centre, I am reforming and revitalizing the Centre both administratively and substantively, in order to mainstream sustainable development and a result-oriented culture in all activities.
As I start my second term in September 2018, my efforts shifted more to the structural reform; and the Centre was made a fresh start with a new structure. Taking into account the three key tasks, which are dealing with new agenda between ASEAN and Japan including initiatives between the two parties (e.g. environment, health), promoting ASEAN integration and narrowing the development gap, and strengthening outreach and PR activities, the Centre continues its reform efforts.
The Centre will enhance its interaction with its member states, and I hope, with these reform efforts, you will find the Centre more useful in furthering partnerships between ASEAN and Japan. Also, next year is designated as the Mekong-Japan Exchange Year 2019; and we are anticipating that it will be another special year to further deepen Japan’s ties with the Mekong countries. I look forward to continuing work with the people of ASEAN to fortify cooperation bilaterally and within the framework of the ASEAN as well as the Mekong subregion.
While seeking your continued guidance and support for the activities of the Centre, I also wish to send my warmest greetings and best wishes to you all for your happiness, good health and prosperity in 2019.