World Economy

Japan Seeks to Boost Role in ASEAN

Japan Seeks to Boost Role in ASEANJapan Seeks to Boost Role in ASEAN

Japan, a longtime supporter of economic development in Southeast Asia, is stepping up its engagement in the region as China has raised its profile in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, VoA reported. Tokyo is also enhancing its role in Southeast Asia’s security debates, especially the South China Sea, where it said the disputes need to be settled by the rule of law and without the use of force. Earlier this week, Japan announced a three-year, $6.8 billion program to boost regional infrastructure across the Greater Mekong Subregion, which includes parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Speaking at a university in Bangkok, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the Japan-Mekong Connectivity Initiative aims to “create a framework” that supports efforts to improve infrastructure such as bridges and rail networks, human resource development and support for the Mekong River region. Japan also backs ASEAN regional integration with a $100 million fund.