Tokyo, Japan
Ms. Chinami NISHIMURA, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, giving the opening remarks at the seminar

This one-day seminar was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, co-sponsored by Belgium, Spain, China, and the European Commission and organised in collaboration with the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). In this seminar, Asian and European experts exchanged experiences and weighed the future possibility of advancing Asia’s relations with Europe against Europe’s deeper economic and regional integration.

Main Results of the Discussion:

  1. Among the three main pillars of the ASEM (politics, economy, and culture), the most significant progress has been made in the field of culture. Cultural exchange is important in the realm of soft security, and they shared a perception that it is a field which will display the added value of the ASEM in the future was shared.
  2. Mutual understanding and trust between people is essential for regional sustainable development. It was newly confirmed that it is important to promote exchange between people, especially exchange between the youth, steadily over a long period of time.
  3. The opinions were shared regarding the point that the framework of the ASEM should promote concrete measures in the same way that the European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) Programme became a corner stone for supporting European integration.
  4. The opinion was brought up that, conversely, in order to increase the exchange between people of the European Union nations and East Asia, it was necessary to improve the quality of institutions of higher education in East Asia.
  5. Furthermore, the opinion was expressed that, for the sustainable development of a peaceful and stable international society, the ASEM could potentially play a role in dealing with challenges that face both Japan and Europe including anti-piracy measures, climate change, and issues of Africa.
  6. It was also confirmed that the ASEF has come to play a constant role in promoting the exchange of people and culture between Asia and Europe as the only permanent body of the ASEM which does not hold a physical secretrariat. It was also agreed that, because of this, the ASEF should be highly evaluated and that there is a necessity for the ASEM partners to further support the activities of the ASEF.
  7. A large number of participants(approximately 160), who are composed of officials from the embassies of the ASEM member countries in Tokyo, academic scholars, young researchers, university students, and journalists in Japan attended this event. As a result, lively exchanges of opinions took place in the Seminar, and it was a good opportunity to deepen understanding and awareness of ASEM and ASEF activities as well as to consider Japan’s contributions to the 8th ASEM Summit.

For more information, kindly visit the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website here.