47th ASEAN – Japan Business Meeting held on 10 March 2022

The 47th Edition of the ASEAN – Japan Business Meeting was held on 10 March 2022, Thursday. This conference welcomed 260 participants from ASEAN countries and Japan comprising of representatives from government agencies, alongside business chambers, universities and research institutions.

This edition of the forum, hosted by the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC) touched on the theme – “Beyond COVID-19: Envisioning the Future with Digitalisation in ASEAN and Japan” bringing together key leaders and corporate luminaries across ASEAN and Japan to discuss the future outlook of the business world beyond COVID-19.

The programme of the forum was as follows:

The forum began with welcome remarks by the respective leaders of AJBM and Keizai Doyukai, followed by special guest remarks delivered by the Ambassador of Japan to Philippines, H.E. Mr Kazuhiko Koshikawa, and Keynote Speech by H.E. Mr Ramon M Lopez, the Secretary of Department of Trade and Industry in Philippines.

Mr Gerard B Sanvictores, the Chairman of AJBM Philippines welcomed all delegates and commented that this was the second time that the AJBM had to be held virtually in consideration of the pandemic. He remarked on the hope that the decreasing number of infections going forward in our respective countries will enable travel and tourism to resume and for our respective countries to recover economically. He further explained the agenda of the forum and encouraged everyone to actively join in the discussions during this event as the AJBM forum is a great opportunity for building networks across ASEAN-Japan.

Mr Kengo Sakurada, the Chairman of Keizai Doyukai discussed recent environmental and socio-political climate that is affecting the whole world. He highlighted that attention be given to the emerging countries where their economic growth rate is still low, and majority of their people still do not have affordable access to electricity and basic infrastructure. He cited his firm belief that innovation will be the key driving force to solve many of the global challenges and it is essential for companies and corporate executives to respond to the changes and continue to evolve dynamically. He expressed his hopes that innovations from ASEAN and Japan can contribute to solve the socio-challenges in the Region and worldwide.

In his remarks, H.E. Mr Kazuhiko Koshikawa expressed that although there are vulnerabilities on the international supply chain of critical and emerging technologies such as semiconductors and risks on regional interdependence, building a strong supply chain and realizing a free and fair trade and investment environment are essential for post-pandemic economic growth. His Excellency also cited that amidst these global disasters and challenges, Japan reaffirms its deep relationship with the ASEAN member-countries. The Government of Japan is continuing its efforts on the “Asia-Japan Investing for the Future Initiative” which supports the utilization of private sector knowledge and expertise on digital and the “Asia Energy Transition Initiative” which supports the achievement of carbon neutrality in ASEAN.

In his Keynote Speech, H.E. Mr Ramon M Lopez commented on the history of the ASEAN-Japan relations which has grown stronger with the increased cross border trades and investments since its establishment in 1977. This long-standing relationship has resulted in concrete outcomes including a comprehensive economic partnership agreement, the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP). He highlighted that the ASEAN-Japan relation has been further strengthened with the entry into force of the First Protocol to amend the AJCEP. He expressed his hopes that the enhancement of AJCEP will restore business confidence to sustain trades and investments between ASEAN and Japan, particularly as we rebuild our economies in the post pandemic era. He also highlighted on the economic ministers of ASEAN and Japan’s collective response to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic through the ASEAN-Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan, intended to help stakeholders survive, to become more resilient and continue to operate under the new normal. He highlighted that the signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a welcome development as it will provide the much needed and timely boost for the economic development in the post pandemic recovery efforts. RCEP is a strong demonstration of the Region’s commitment in ensuring a stable and predictable regional economic architecture amidst uncertainties and the growing trends worldwide.

From left to right (clockwise): Mr Joseph Jr. Uy of PHILJEC (Philippines) as the emcee of the event, Mr Gerard B Sanvictores, Chairman of AJBM Philippines, H.E. Mr Kazuhiko Koshikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, Mr Nobuhide Hayashi, Chairman of AJBM Japan, and H.E. Mr Ramon M Lopez, Secretary of Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines.

After the opening ceremony, the first plenary session with the theme “Living with Corona” featured panelists from Indonesia, Philippines and Japan, was moderated by Mr Shazali Sulaiman, Founder of Shazali & Partners (Brunei).This sessiondiscussed on the topic of building a socioeconomic system suitable for living in COVID-19 pandemic times and the state of recovery from pandemic and progress toward new normal society.

From left to right (clockwise): Mr Shazali Sulaiman, Founder of Shazali & Partners (Brunei), H.E. Dr Mahendra Siregar, the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs (Indonesia), Mr Takuya Shimamura, Chairman of AGC Inc (Japan), and Mr Jose Ma A Concepcion III, the Founder of Go Negosyo (Philippines).

The forum continued with the second plenary session with the theme “Climate Change” featuring panelists from Singapore, Philippines and Japan, and was moderated by Mr Patrick Tang, Mobile & Connectivity Partnerships of META Platforms. This session discussed how businesses respond to climate change as well as the opportunities in renewable energy and green business.

From left to right (clockwise): Mr Patrick Tang (Singapore), Mr Luke Tay, an Independent Futurist, Strategist & Food Systems Advocate (Singapore), Mr Francis Giles B Puno, the President of First Gen (Philippines), and Mr Yosuke Kiminami, the Founding CEO of RENOVA Inc (Japan).

The third plenary session followed up with the theme “Start-up & Innovation” featuring panelists from Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, and was moderated by Mr Masahiko Homma, the General Partner of IncubateFund (Japan). This session discussed how businesses have been adapting to the new normal through digitalisation and the co-development between ASEAN and Japan.

From left to right (clockwise): Mr Masahiko Homma (Japan), Mr Teppei Sakano, the Representative Director / CEO of Allm Inc (Japan), Dr Supachai Kid Parchariyanon, the CEO & Co-Founder of RISE (Thailand), Ms Stephanie Sy, the CEO of Thinking Machines (Philippines), and Mr Mohd Atasha Alias, the CEO & Co-founder of Vuoz.io (Malaysia).

The forum ended with closing remarks by the leaderships of AJBM Philippines and Japan, respectively, followed by the announcement of the 48th ASEAN-Japan Business Meeting.

The incoming chairman of the 48th ASEAN-Japan Business Meeting – Mr Yuji Hirako announced and invited all delegates to the 48th Edition of the ASEAN-Japan Business Meeting which will be held in Tokyo, tentatively in December 2022.

PHILJEC’s report on the 47th AJBM can be read here: https://philippinesjapansociety.com/philjec/virtual-conference-47th-asean-japan-business-meeting/.

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