October 8, 2018, at 1745hrs (local time), Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan prior to the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit. A joint press conference was held afterward.
The two Prime Ministers were pleased with close and cordial relations between Thailand and Japan in various aspects, especially in politics and economic affairs, and at all levels from the royal family to people-to-people relations and local cooperation. Last year, the two countries have just celebrated the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the commitment to continue forging mutual relations and cooperation in all aspects.
Both leaders discussed regional issues, and agreed to join hands for the sake of regional and sub-regional peace. They also discussed several bilateral issues, especially cooperation under CPTPP, RCEP, and JTEPA frameworks, and Japan’s consideration to import more agro products from Thailand.
The Prime Minister also thanked Japan for joining forces with Thailand in uplifting the country’s S-Curve industries in accordance with Thailand 4.0 policy by adopting Japan’s concept of “Connected Industries” to strengthen and empower SMEs and startups. Japan also provides support for a number of projects on human resources development which aim to produce high-standard and skilled technical workers who will accommodate Japan’s investment in Thailand’s S-Curve industries and in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The visit of over 600 Japanese businessmen last year underscores the position of Japan as No.1 investor in Thailand and in EEC. Thailand is pleased that Japanese investors are interested to take part in EEC infrastructure development projects.
At the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit, Tokyo Strategy 2018 for Mekong-Japan Cooperation will be endorsed with an aim to develop Mekong sub-region through connectivity building, human resource development, and conservation of environment. The Tokyo Strategy 2018 will be linked with ACMECS Master Plan initiated by Thailand. Japan was the first country expressing interest to become ACMECS development partner.
Thailand stands ready to join forces with Japan in developing Mekong sub-regional countries in an innovative and sustainable manner. The country will take over ASEAN chairmanship next year, and would like to seek Japan’s cooperation in promoting ASEAN as people-centric community that will move forward without leaving anyone behind.
Toward the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister affirmed that the Thai Government has been undertaking national reform, and driving the country toward sustainable democracy as general election is scheduled in February next year. He also thanked the Government of Japan for its understanding and support.