Member News - Congrés Inc.

Japan hosted the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation from December 16 to 18, 2023. The Commemorative Summit and various related events were convened in Tokyo, co-chaired by Japan’s Prime Minister Mr. KISHIDA Fumio and President Joko WIDODO of Indonesia, which holds ASEAN Chairmanship for 2023. The Joint Vision Statement on ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation and its Implementation Plan were adopted as the Commemorative Summit’s outcome.

Congrés Inc., IAPCO’s Japan member, was appointed to manage the venue set-up and overall operations of the Summit.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was launched with the “Bangkok Declaration” in 1967. The founding 5 members are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. In 1984, Brunei Darussalam joined ASEAN and member countries steadily increased thereafter. Currently, ASEAN comprises 10 members, with the additions, in order, of Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Japan and ASEAN have cooperated closely over these past 50 years, since the 1973 dialogue on synthetic rubber, toward ensuring the peace and stability, and development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific Region.

Highlights of the meeting included Session 1 on the opening day, Dec. 17, where the attendees reviewed the history of Japan-ASEAN cooperation and debated various issues related to peace and stability, partnerships, and the current circumstances surrounding the region and the world.

Prime Minister KISHIDA gave his opening address, expressing his hope that the trust and cooperation built up over the years through this true “heart-to-heart” friendship will be passed on securely to the next generation. With that spirit in mind, he outlined the agenda that would include frank discussions on the past half-century of the relationship and a new vision for the future, including determining concrete forms of cooperation.

The President of Indonesia and concurrently Co-Chair of the meeting, Mr. Joko WIDODO, underscored that Japan is a trusted partner in his opening address. Furthermore, President WIDODO expressed his expectations that through collaboration with Japan, the region would become a centre of growth and that under a new generation of partnerships, peace and stability would be maintained.

At the close of the session, Prime Minister KISHIDA confirmed that through the candid exchange of views with the Summit representatives from each country, unanimous agreement was reached on the vision of a world where all nations can pursue peace and prosperity, observing principles such as democracy, rule of law, good governance, and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Prime Minister KISHIDA also affirmed that ASEAN and Japan agreed to further strengthen their cooperation as “Partners for Peace and Stability”.

The Photo of Session 2

The Photo of Session 2      

On the left - The President of Indonesia and concurrently Co-Chair of the meeting, Mr. Joko WIDODO. On the right -  Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio

On the left – The President of Indonesia and concurrently Co-Chair of the meeting, Mr. Joko WIDODO. On the right –  Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio

A unique event was planned to celebrate this commemorative 50-year occasion – something we as a PCO had never experienced before! – An exclusive evening light-up of the famous landmark, Tokyo Tower! The Summit dignitaries viewed the Tokyo Tower spectacle, along with the fantastic nightscape of Tokyo, from a venue in the new office & commercial complex, “Azabudai Hills” that opened in November, 2023 in a popular area of central Tokyo. After the light-up, they attended a special ceremony, followed by the commemorative banquet hosted by Prime Minister and Mrs. KISHIDA.

Tokyo Tower was lit up in the ASEAN flag colours of red, yellow and blue, which were also the colours utilized in the logomark for this commemorative Summit. The Tower’s observation deck displayed a specially created message “ASEAN – JAPAN,” designed by the renowned Japanese lighting artist, Motoko Ishii Lighting Design.

Many IAPCO members may have heard of “Hello Kitty,” the Japanese character that is popular all over Asia as well as Japan. You might be interested to know that 2023 was not only the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, but also the 50th Year of Hello Kitty! In fact, Kitty graced the stage at the special ceremony!

ASEAN-JAPAN 50th Year Tokyo Tower Light-Up Ceremony

ASEAN-JAPAN 50th Year Tokyo Tower Light-Up Ceremony

Partners’ Program featuring interaction with the next generation and diverse cultural experiences

On December 17, Mrs. KISHIDA Yuko, Spouse of the Prime Minister of Japan, hosted the Partners’ Program for the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in Tokyo.

On the 17th, the partners of the Commemorative Summit attendees participated in a discussion program with students attending the “JENESYS 2023 ASEAN-Japan Students Conference” followed by a lunch featuring “Shojin” cuisine (traditional Japanese vegetarian cuisine), with dishes that featured fresh, seasonal ingredients, highlighting current season in Japan. The partners received an introduction to the culture of tea ceremony and a first-hand experience with whisking matcha.

On the second day, Dec. 18, the partners visited the National Noh Theatre through the cooperation of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan. They watched a performance of the Japanese Noh theatre, having a rich history, enacted on a stage crafted from 400-year-old cypress trees. Afterward, they were treated to a special tour of the actual stage and backstage areas, rarely open to the public, for a more in-depth experience of this remarkable Japanese performing art. The partners also had the opportunity to meet and discuss Noh and their experiences with a Noh expert and actor, while enjoying a light meal.

The photo of Mrs. KISHIDA and the partners at the National Noh Theatre

The photo of Mrs KISHIDA and the partners at the National Noh Theatre

The two-day Partners’ Program proved to be a valued opportunity for the attendees to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture, while simultaneously enhancing their friendships.

Congrès was honoured to operate this esteemed state-level meeting to commemorate the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. Although we only had 2 months lead time to prepare, we utilized our experiences in setting up and operating the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May to full advantage to support this meeting toward success. Congrès wishes to express our appreciation to all of the people and organizations who cooperated to support this successful meeting that brought together dignitaries from diverse nations in Asia.


Photo source: Public Relations Office, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

Reference: Official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Japan