Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

Let us Revive the Fukuda Doctrine to Mark a Fresh Start Today.
OGAWA Tadashi / Professor, Atomi University

August 15, 2023
In 2023, a number of events are being held on both the Japanese and ASEAN sides in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation. In July, The Japan Foundation (JF) and Institute of Social Science and Humanities (ISSH), National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) of Indonesia hosted an international symposium to look back on the past and discuss the prospects for the future under the theme of "Mobility among ASEAN and Japan: Its Future and How We Shape It." As I took part in the symposium and exchanged views with public intellectuals from the ASEAN countries, I realized anew the contemporary relevance of the Fukuda Doctrine.

The Fukuda Doctrine was the set of principles that guided Japan’s foreign policy towards ASEAN for half a century. In August 1977, Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda articulated in Manila the following three principles: (1) Japan, a nation committed to peace, rejects the role of a military power, (2) Japan, as a true friend of the countries of Southeast Asia, will do its best for consolidating the relationship of mutual confidence and trust based on “heart-to-heart” understanding with these countries, and (3) Japan will be an equal partner of ASEAN and its member countries, and cooperate positively with them in their own efforts to strengthen their solidarity and resilience.

When the Fukuda Doctrine was announced, there were anti-Japanese feelings among the ASEAN countries, stemming from the memory of Japan’s wartime military occupation, the wariness against the excessively strong Japanese economy, and the lack of understanding on the part of expatriate Japanese doing business in the region about the culture and society of their host countries. In sharp contrast, Japan and ASEAN are today bound by strong feelings of mutual confidence. The seeds sewn by our predecessors to bring the ideals of the Fukuda Doctrine into reality have richly borne fruit. In particular, together with political dialogue and economic cooperation, people-to-people exchange and cultural exchange have played significant roles.

At the same time, the situation is not without challenges. In the first panel of the above-mentioned symposium, Dr. Yuri Sato, Executive Vice President of the Japan Foundation, drew attention to the following imbalance in the mobility between Japan and ASEAN, as it stood in 2019, that cannot be ignored.

Japanese residents in ASEAN countries:211,417
ASEANese residents in Japan:      1,060,593

Students from Japan to ASEAN countries: 22,523
Students from ASEAN countries to Japan: 96,468

Tourists traveling from Japan to ASEAN countries: 5,655,375
Tourists traveling from ASEAN countries to Japan: 3,904,254

As indicated above, as far as temporary travelers are concerned, the flow from Japan to ASEAN is stronger. In contrast, the flow from ASEAN to Japan is stronger as far as residents and students who stay for the middle to long term are concerned. This reflects the fact that the level of Japan’s interest in ASEAN has not matched the level of ASEAN’s interest in Japan. More generally speaking, Japan’s understanding of ASEAN is insufficient compared to ASEAN’s interest in Japan. Mutual understanding worthy of an equal partnership is yet to be achieved.

The key to mutual understanding is culture, and a balanced cultural exchange is essential. The Japan Foundation, as the key organ for Japan’s cultural exchange, has made Southeast Asia a priority region. Translating the spirit of the Fukuda Doctrine into reality and avoiding the trap of one-way transmission of Japanese culture, it has taken a variety of approaches to introduce ASEAN’s culture to Japan while taking care to foster the sense of cultural unity between Japan and the ASEAN countries.

In the meantime, the programs to strengthen two-way exchanges with Southeast Asia, started in 2014 under the initiative of the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, came to an end in 2022, and the Japan Foundation Asia Center, which implemented these programs, disappeared from the scene. The Japan Foundation Asia Center not only carried out its own programs, but also collaboratively supported other civic, art, and intellectual exchange programs. The Center’s absence from the scene means that the current Japan-ASEAN exchange is like an aircraft struggling to stay afloat in the air with its main engine dead.

A Japan-ASEAN special summit meeting is scheduled to take place this coming December. It will be a perfect opportunity for Japan and ASEAN to project to the international community a strong message that we will revive the Fukuda Doctrine and will further build on the Japan-ASEAN partnership so that we can together exert a truly global partnership for the peace and prosperity of the world. It is hoped that we can demonstrate some concrete measures to do this.

We are finally coming out of the three-year-long COVID-19 crisis and people-to-people exchanges are being resumed at full scale. Now is the time for Japan and ASEAN to launch the initiative for the drastic strengthening of two-way exchanges such as re-establishing the Japan Foundation Asia Center.

Tadashi Ogawa is a professor at Atomi University.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

小川 忠 / 跡見学園女子大学教授

2023年 8月 15日




・ASEANに住む日本人    211,477    
・日本に住むASEAN国籍者 1,060,593

・ASEANで学ぶ日本人留学生 22,523     
・日本で学ぶASEAN留学生  96,468

・日本からのASEAN旅行者 5,655,375    
・ASEANからの訪日旅行者 3,904,254






一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟

English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > Let us Revive the Fukuda Doctrine to Mark a Fresh Start Today.