Southeast Asia is the key to economic growth - Japan businesses

December 14
1:51 PM 2013

On Saturday, corporate leaders of Japan stressed the importance of markets in Southeast Asia in growing the country's companies during a meeting with Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders.

Keidanren lobby group chairman Hiromasa Yonekura said at the luncheon meeting, "Japan's economic circles will continue to deepen economic exchanges with ASEAN. Japan wants to contribute to sustainable growth in the ASEAN region."

Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Akio Mimura said, "ASEAN is Japan's biggest investment destination. Our relations with ASEAN are indispensable for Japan's economic revitalization."

The ASEAN was formed on August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand to accelerate economic growth, cultural development, social progress, opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully and to protect regional peace and stability, according to its website. The geo-political and economic organization has Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam as its additional members, forming a group of ten countries. In an European Union review, ASEAN's combined gross domestic product saw a growth to over $2 trillion in 2011, making it the eight-largest economy in the world should ASEAN be considered as a single entity.

According to a report published in August by the Japan External Trade Organization, direct investments poured by Japanese countries into the 10-member organization had climbed 55.4% in the first six months of 2013 to an all-time high of $10.2 billion (¥1.05 trillion) as compared to the same period last year.

Making a brief address on behalf of ASEAN, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah lauded the Japanese corporate leaders for their contribution to the organization's economy, and urged them to continue with their investments in the region. The Brunei sultan also praised the Japanese, saying that they are highly-recommended for their technological skills around the world.

The luncheon hosted by Keidanren and the JCCI was also attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe also made a statement at the luncheon, and praising the development of ASEAN. He added, "The rise of ASEAN is an accumulation of people's enormous efforts."

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