Jakarta. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in maritime affairs, counterterrorism, infrastructure development and manufacturing, with the Japanese willing to expand their production base in Indonesia.
“Indonesia and Japan are not just strategic partners, we are also two important countries in the region. Our partnership contributes not only to the prosperity of Indonesia and Japan, but also to regional peace, stability and prosperity,” Retno said in a press statement after a meeting Kono in Jakarta on Monday (25/06).
Retno said the two countries are working to make Indonesia Japan’s production base for its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) market.
In order to facilitate this, they will review their economic partnership agreement this year.
“We agreed to intensify and expedite the general review of the Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement [IJ-EPA] to conclude it by the end of this year,” Retno said.
The IJ-EPA was established in July 2008, but has been under review for renegotiation since 2013, after concerns that it was not mutually beneficial.
In 2017, total trade between the two countries increased by around 13 percent to more than $33 billion, making Japan Indonesia’s second biggest trade partner, just after China.
Last year, Japan was the second largest investor into Indonesia, making up 15.5 percent of total foreign direct investment (FDI) with $5 billion.
“Japan will help Indonesia develop infrastructure and improve business environment to attract more Japanese investment,” Kono said.
Indonesia and Japan also agreed to speed up a number of ongoing investment projects, including the MRT, Patimban Port in Subang, West Java, and Jakarta-Surabaya railway development.
They will also strengthen cooperation in maritime affairs, which will cover capacity building, fisheries and maritime safety.
On Monday, the two countries signed an exchange of note on the Integrated Marine and Fisheries Centers and Fish Market to enhance cooperation in developing fisheries centers on Indonesia’s outer islands, including Biak in Papua, Morotai in North Maluku and Sabang in Aceh.
According to Brahmantya Satyamurti Poerwadi, director general of marine spatial planning at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, development of ports in the selected outer islands will be realized soon.
“Our objective is to prioritize these outer islands for Indonesia’s fisheries industry,” Brahmantya said, adding that investment to develop these areas will amount to around $54 million.
In order to improve tourism relations, Kono said the two countries will strengthen their people-to-people exchange.
“We are trying to increase the level of people-to-people exchange to 1 million people both ways. We would like to promote tourism further.”
He also said Japan will support Indonesia’s efforts to counter violent extremism.
Japan has been providing Indonesia with technical assistance for the 2018 Asian Games. Kono said it includes a biometric security system at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, but did not elaborate further.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Indonesia-Japan relations.
Source : jakartaglobe