The Future of Asia 2012

ASEAN Sec-Gen Urges Japan To 'Regain Confidence'

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of the Association of South East Asian Nations, emphasized the importance of Japan in maintaining East Asia's position as the center of global growth at an international forum on Thursday.

Speaking at the annual Future of Asia conference, Surin said, "Today, you will see a lot of changes in the region because it is a center of gravity now. The challenge for us in East Asia is how to handle our differences and make sure that our relations do not affect our growth or the confidence in our region.

"It is in the interests of Japan, and it is expected of Japan, to be in the center of the problems and challenges that affect East Asia," he said.

Surin urged Japan to "regain confidence," saying, "From the natural disasters, from the changes in the region -- that may make you believe that you are no longer the leader. But look at your contribution to the region: first-class technology and science, first-class management, education, discipline -- all of these are the ingredients, are what is needed for the confident Japan that East Asia needs," he said.

The 18th International Conference on The Future of Asia kicked off this morning, and will be held until Friday. The event is being co-hosted by Nikkei Inc. and the Japan Center for Economic Research. Each year, the forum brings together political and business leaders to discuss the future of Asia-Pacific nations and how developments in the region impact the global economy. The main theme this year is "Asia's Role in a Tumultuous World -- In Search of a New Growth Model."

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.