Japan-Indonesia Summit Meeting
On October 20, 2020, Suga Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan, who was visiting Indonesia, held a Japan-Indonesia Summit Meeting with H.E. Mr. Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, at the presidential palace. The overview of the talk is as follows.
At the outset, President Joko welcomed Prime Minister Suga’s visit and expressed his intention to further develop the relationship between the two countries as strategic partners. In response, Prime Minister Suga extended his congratulations on the first anniversary of the inauguration of the second Joko administration and stated he hoped to work together to further strengthen the traditional cordial relations between the two maritime nations in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the areas of infrastructure and human resource development.
With regard to bilateral relations and the regional situation specifically, the two leaders exchanged the following views.
With the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) exerting a significant impact on the Indonesian economy, Prime Minister Suga announced his intention to provide Indonesia with a new 50 billion yen financial support loan with a view to enhancing the country’s disaster response capacity. He also announced the Japanese government had provided medical supplies and equipment worth more than 4.4 billion yen to medical research institutions in Indonesia and intended to continue cooperating in this area, to which President Joko also expressed his earnest gratitude. Furthermore, the two leaders welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on healthcare, promoting cooperation between the two countries in the fields of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, human resource development, and medical services.
With regard to the resumption of cross-border travel between the two countries, the two leaders affirmed that travel was resumed for business personnel, including candidates for nurses and care workers under the Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement. They agreed to closely coordinate to reopen cross-border travel for short-term business purposes as soon as possible, easing the 14-day stay period after entry.
In terms of President Joko’s domestic priorities, Prime Minister Suga stated that he would promote infrastructure cooperation in such areas as the development of the Jakarta MRT network, the upgrading of the Java North Line railway, the construction and operation of Patimban Port, the development of the Masela Block, and the development of outer islands. The two leaders agreed to steadily advance their ongoing tangible cooperation.
In response to the issues that have emerged as a result of the pandemic, Prime Minister Suga announced his intention to work with Indonesia to reinforce the supply chain, including the development of investment environment in the country. President Joko responded by giving thanks for Japan’s investment to date and expressed his hopes for further Japanese investment in the future as Indonesia proceeds with the development of its business environment.
Regarding cooperation in security and other fields, the two leaders agreed, in light of changes in the regional situation, to hold the Japan-Indonesia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (2+2), Japan’s only 2+2 meeting in Southeast Asia, as soon as possible. They also affirmed that they would advance discussions on the transfer of defense equipment and promote human resource development in the field of maritime law enforcement.
The two leaders agreed to cooperate toward resuming the project for collecting the remains of Japanese soldiers who died in Indonesia. Prime Minister Suga also called on President Joko to ease the remaining restrictions on Japanese food imports introduced following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Prime Minister Suga stated that the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) drawn up by ASEAN last year shares many fundamental commonalities with the ‘‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’’ (FOIP), and that Japan fully supports the Outlook. He expressed his intent to advance cooperation for the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings to be held next month. In response, President Joko made reference to the synergy between AOIP and FOIP in the Indo-Pacific region and hoped that ASEAN and Japan would work together. In light of this, the two leaders agreed to continue their cooperation in the run-up to the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings.
Both leaders agreed to continue to work closely together on regional affairs including the South China Sea issue and North Korea. Prime Minister Suga also asked for Indonesia’s cooperation for the early resolution of the abduction issue.