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ASEAN Embassies in Tokyo Celebrate ASEAN’s 52nd Anniversary

In celebration of the 52nd anniversary of ASEAN, the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo joined the ASEAN Committee in Tokyo (ACT) in co-organizing the “ASEAN 52nd Anniversary Symposium” on 26 August 2019 at the Bellesalle Onarimon Ekimae Hall in Tokyo. The seminar featured the theme “Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in ASEAN” was co-organized by the ASEAN-Japan Center and the ASEAN Secretariat, with support from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Symposium was attended by Ambassadors and representatives from the Embassies of ASEAN Member States, as well as the Secretaries-General of the ASEAN-Japan, ASEAN-China and ASEAN-Korea Centers. Members of the academe and think-tank communities, Japanese government officials, and representatives from the business sector and the media also attended the event. The Philippine Embassy was represented by Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar.

Philippine Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar (back, 4th from left) with Ambassadors and representatives from ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN-Japan Center, ASEAN-China Center and ASEAN-Korea Center.

Dr. Aladdin D. Rodillo, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) keynoted the event and in his speech highlighted the progress of ASEAN’s economic integration efforts. Dr. Rodillo is from the Philippines.

In his remarks, Dr. Rodillo outlined ASEAN’s significant achievements over the past year in terms promoting trade facilitation and reducing trade transaction costs in the movement of goods, services and investments, both within ASEAN and with external trade partners.

Dr. Rodillo noted that he remained optimistic about the prospects of a more economically integrated ASEAN region despite challenges posed by the advent of the 4th industrial revolution, trade tensions, and an increasingly ageing population. He discussed the prospects of concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year and the potential benefits the region could derive from this agreement.

The Symposium also gathered various experts to discuss the trend of ageing in ASEAN and its effects on economic growth and socio-cultural stability. Panelists emphasized that the ASEAN region’s population over 65 years old will triple by 2050, with the exception of the Philippines. As such they saw the need for ASEAN to have a comprehensive approach towards population ageing, drawing from the lessons and experiences of other countries, especially Japan.

The Symposium is an annual event organized by the ASEAN-Japan Center, an intergovernmental organization established by the ASEAN Member States and Japan in 1981. The Center has been promoting trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contacts between ASEAN Member States and Japan.

The (ACT) is composed of the Ambassadors of the Embassies of the ASEAN which are based in Tokyo.

ASEAN was founded by the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in 1967. The Philippines chaired ASEAN during its 50th anniversary in 2017, with the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”.

Japan is one of ASEAN’s oldest and most active Dialogue Partners.

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