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Philippine Embassy Welcomes New ASEAN-Japan Centre Secretary General

Photo on the left, AJC Secretary General Dr. Kunihiko Hirabayashi and Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V.Photo on the right, Secretary General Hirabayashi and Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar.

22 September 2021 – The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo welcomed the appointment of Dr. Kunihiko Hirabayashi, who assumed his post as Secretary General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) on 1 September. Visiting the embassy on two separate occasions, Secretary General Hirabayashi exchanged views with embassy officials on “re-imagining the future of the AJC” especially as ASEAN and Japan celebrate their 50 years of relationship in 2023.

Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V recognized the important role the AJC plays in promoting ASEAN to Japanese stakeholders and vice versa, and hoped that AJC will continue implementing programs to support the Philippines and ASEAN member countries towards inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy. “With the Philippine Development Plan as our country’s guide, we see AJC supporting and complementing our policies and actions towards “facilitating transition into the new normal, fostering adaptive recovery and building socioeconomic resiliency,” Ambassador Laurel stated.

Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar, who serves as Chair of the Council Directors at the AJC, agreed with Secretary General Hirabayashi on the need to review and revisit AJC programs and activities for a “more unified approach in promoting ASEAN-Japan relations.” “While AJC has been an excellent platform for ASEAN embassies in Tokyo to feature the best that our countries can offer in terms of trade, tourism and culture, we also need to have more people-to-people linkages and active engagements with the youth,” DCM Bolivar added.

Established in 1981, AJC’s mandate is to promote trade, investments and tourism between ASEAN and Japan. The Philippines currently chairs the Executive Board and Council Directors Meetings of the AJC.