Officials from the Japanese Ministry of Justice formally conveyed its plan during the 2nd ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM) - Japan Consultations held at the sidelines of the 21st ASLOM last 13-14 October 2022, to host the ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting (ALAWMM) and the special meeting of ASEAN Justice Ministers in Tokyo, Japan on 6-7 July 2023.
The ASEAN-Japan Special Meeting of Justice Ministers (AJSMJ) will be held under the theme "Advancing ASEAN-Japan Cooperation to Promote the Rules of Law: Towards a New Phase Beyond the 50th Year of Friendship and Cooperation."
The proposal of Japan to host the ALAWMM and AJSMJ was warmly welcomed by the 21st ASLOM Chairman, Department of Justice Undersecretary Brigido J. Dulay, as a "fitting platform for ASEAN-Japan cooperation to uphold the rule of law and human rights in various aspects such as crime prevention and criminal justice, promotion of international trade dispute settlement, and immigration."
"The upcoming (ALAWMM and AJSMJ) meetings will be an opportunity for ASEAN Member States (AMS) to forge the path of regional cooperation with Japan," added Undersecretary Dulay.
During the said consultation, Assistant Vice-Minister of Justice Shibata Noriko of the Japanese Ministry of Justice discussed the activities towards the development and adoption of the Work Plan on Law and Justice and the Joint Statement by ASEAN and Japan.
The Work Plan sets the roadmap in identifying the possible areas of cooperation and coordination between ASEAN and Japan, with a view to promoting the rule of law and respect for human rights among ASEAN Member States and Japan. Among these are collaboration with relevant United Nations specialized agencies such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) who has specific expertise in crime prevention and criminal justice as well as the United Nation as Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on promoting rules-based international trade dispute settlement.
Citing the field of law and justice as a key area of cooperation, Japan also signified its interest in providing legal technical assistance to ASEAN Member States and promoting capacity-building development through the exchange of legal experts.
Assistant Vice-Minister Noriko likewise presented the official logo for the said special meeting which portrayed intertwined loops that represent the strong relationship among AMS. She explained that the colors red, white, yellow, and blue of the logo were thoughtfully utilized as these colors are taken from the predominant colors of AMS flags.
This special meeting will be the first high-level gathering of ASEAN Justice Ministers with their Japanese counterparts, which will coincide with the celebration of the 50th Year of Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Justice in 2023 as well as the regular meeting of ASEAN Justice Ministers at the ALAWMM.