ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) reached its 40th anniversary in 2021 and the year 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation. As we celebrate the milestones, AJC has created AJC 5.0, which serves as a mid-term strategic plan that includes “five goals, five strategies and five opportunities for reimagination” for 2022-2025.
AJC 5.0 Vision
“To be a regional champion of change toward human-centered, inclusive, sustainable and resilient society by contributing to the realization of the ASEAN-Japan common agenda in ASEAN VISION 2025 and SDGs through enhancing AJC’s targeted and strategic mandates in trade, investment, tourism and people-to people exchanges between ASEAN and Japan.”
AJC will focus on the following five goals.
Goal 1: Inclusive, resilient, and sustainable trade among ASEAN Member States and Japan
There is increasing evidence that well-planned and inclusive trade policies and practices can positively impact sustainable poverty reduction. Goal 1 aims to foster stable, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable trading relations among ASEAN Member States and Japan.
Program 1.1: Promotion of inclusive, resilient, and sustainable trade
Program 1.2: Multidisciplinary research on the promotion of inclusive, resilient, and sustainable trade
Goal 2: Sustainable impact investment
Foreign direct investment is crucial for building back better and stronger from the COVID-19 crisis as well as achieving the ASEAN Vision 2025 and SDGs. Goal 2 aims to promote well-planned and responsible direct investment from Japan to ASEAN Member States through the combination of traditional investment approaches with environmental, social, and governance insights, which can create quality jobs in all the member states including for young people and women and contribute to realization of ASEAN Vision 2025 and SDGs, drawing special attention to combating climate change and environmental degradation. Goal 2 also aims to support ASEAN domestic firms, particularly SMEs, to access international markets and integrate into global value chains.
Program 2.1: Promotion of sustainable impact investment from Japan to ASEAN
Program 2.2: Multidisciplinary research on impact investment to support ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF)
Goal 3: Sustainable and responsible tourism
The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities. ” However, responsible tourism tackles this issue on a personal level. It strives to reduce the negative social, economic, and environmental impacts that tourism has on the local communities . Goal 3 aims to harness tourism’s benefits for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, as well as achieve the ASEAN Vision 2025 and SDGs.
Program 3.1: Promotion of sustainable tourism in ASEAN
Program 3.2: Promotion of responsible tourism from Japan
Goal 4: Fostering leadership exchanges and empowering young people and women among ASEAN Member states and Japan for mutual prosperity
Young people in ASEAN and Japan are highly exposed to the issues impacting both their countries and the world and have become increasingly concerned with finding solutions for these social, political, and environmental issues to make a long-lasting change. The ASEAN region has made considerable progress across multiple areas of sustainable development in the past decade, yet inequalities remain. Goal 4 aims to empower young people and women in ASEAN and Japan to unlock their leadership potential by collectively and individually developing tangible solutions to community, domestic, regional, and global challenges.
Program 4.1: Enhancing dialogues and leadership opportunities among young people and women in ASEAN and Japan
Program 4.2: Raising awareness on the importance of ASEAN-Japan relations among young people in ASEAN and Japan
Program 4-3: ASEAN-Japan Cooperation on Marine Plastic Waste
Goal 5: Advocacy, communication, social mobilization, and partnership for change
Evidence suggests that advocacy and communication, which balance the perspectives, goals, insights, and experiences of both business and civil society can offer a potentially powerful means to shape and influence effective policymaking. Goal 5 focuses on the positive role that the Centre can play through public advocacy, communication, social mobilization, and partnership to shape and influence policies needed to deliver the ASEAN Vision 2025 and SDGs.
Program 5.1: Building Public Support to Achieve AJC’s Goals
Program 5.2: Strengthening Stakeholders’ Trust in Achieving AJC’s Goals Toward 2023 and Beyond
Five acceleration strategies
AJC 5.0 has identified undernoted five acceleration strategies.
- Use the power of data, evidence, facts, and research to drive change toward sustainable and inclusive trade, investment, and tourism between ASEAN and Japan.
- Contribute to the strengthening of the fit-for-context system by focusing on improving the enabling environment and building capacity, particularly among frontline decision makers, and enhancing resilience.
- Strengthen advocacy and communication to facilitate changes beneficial for people in ASEAN and Japan.
- Leverage the power of partnerships with key stakeholders, including SMEs, women, and young people, to win support from decision-makers and the public in ASEAN and Japan.
- Attending to the needs and voices of the ASEAN Member states and Japan, analyze the needs and their backgrounds, and jointly create and implement solutions.
In the coming years, there would be several important and transformational events/points for Japan and ASEAN relationships, which AJC should strategically leverage to achieve greater impact. Such opportunities include the following:
- RCEP agreement has already been enforced now. Furthermore, Indonesia holds the presidency of the G20 for 2022, and Thailand hosts APEC in the same year.
- 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation, 70th year of Cambodia-Japan, and 65th year of Indonesia-Japan as well as Vietnam-Japan diplomatic relations.
- In 2024, the pandemic would be globally contained and actions toward smarter, greener, and safer ASEAN would be accelerated; 40th year anniversary of Brunei Darussalam-Japan diplomatic relations, 70th year anniversary of Myanmar-Japan diplomatic relations.
- 2025 is the last year of ASEAN 2025, 70th year anniversary of Lao PDR-Japan diplomatic relations.
- OSAKA Expo 2025 is held with the theme of designing future society for our lives through two interconnected subthemes of how to lead a healthy life in a diverse manner, and sustainable socioeconomic systems.
 Engel, Jakob, Deeksha Kokas, Gladys Lopez-Acevedo, and Maryla Maliszewska. 2021. The Distributional Impacts of Trade: Empirical Innovations, Analytical Tools, and Policy Responses. Trade and Development. Washington, DC: World Bank. doi: 10.1596/978-1-4648-1704-5. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO