(Provisional translation)

On July 7, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida attended the opening ceremony for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)-G7 Justice Ministers’ Interface held in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Kishida said in his address,

“I am KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan. Let me offer a few words on the occasion of the ASEAN-G7 Justice Ministers’ Interface today. First of all, as Prime Minister of Japan, I would like to welcome participants from each country and international organization.

The international community is now facing the situation that has shaken the international order: Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are unacceptable anywhere in the world. As we are at a turning point in history, now is the time to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law. Moreover, it is important for all the countries and regions that share visions to enhance dialogue and to jointly defend the values and principles such as the respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.

In the Hiroshima Summit in May, the leaders of the invited countries, including Indonesia, which holds the ASEAN Chair, and those of G7 members shared such recognition. At the same time, the G7 affirmed that it would strengthen cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region, such as ASEAN countries.

ASEAN plays an important role as the center of regional cooperation in Asia and is the cornerstone toward the realization of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).

Alongside with the G7, Japan supports the centrality and unity of ASEAN and will advance concrete cooperation in accordance with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which is advocated by ASEAN and shares essential principles with the FOIP.

Today is the first-ever dialogue opportunity for the justice ministers and others of ASEAN and the G7, who are working on the promotion of the rule of law, to meet together.

In addition, this year marks the 50th anniversary of friendship and cooperation between Japan and ASEAN.

In order to defend the values and principles, such as the rule of law and the respect for human rights, jointly with the international community, Japan has advanced the initiative called justice affairs diplomacy thus far. We have provided ASEAN countries with support for the development of judicial human resources, the drafting of basic legislations, and the institutional development of judicial organs, among others. Japan has built a firm relationship of friendship and trust with ASEAN with these initiatives as part of its coordinated diplomatic approach.

I believe that serving as a bridge between ASEAN and the G7 in this milestone year is a mission for Japan, which understands the diverse cultures and legal systems of both groups and has developed a firm relationship of trust with each country.

This meeting is intended to put the commitment made in the G7 summit to strengthening coordination with regional partners, including ASEAN and its members, into action in the field of law and justice. I hope that this meeting will be a new starting point for further collaboration between ASEAN and the G7.

I also expect the meeting to be an important step for justice affairs diplomacy that the Ministry of Justice of Japan has promoted.

Mutual understanding and the sharing of values cannot be done overnight. It requires us to tenaciously continue dialogue, while respecting the society, culture, history, and other aspects of the partner country. I request that you continue dialogue into the future and work on establishing partnership with the next generation in mind, thereby ensuring that this rare opportunity will not be a one-off event.

I would like to conclude my remarks by expressing my sincere respect for the daily efforts made by everyone present here and wholeheartedly wishing the success of today’s meeting. Thank you.”


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