Japan is looking to boost ties with Asean nations as Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has offered South-East Asian countries almost $20bn in aid and loans.
The statement came at a summit in Tokyo, weeks after China’s declaration of a new air defence zone overlapping areas claimed by Japan and South Korea.
Japan is trying to gather support from the 10 Asean nations, out of which some also have territorial disputes with China.
Indonesia, the largest economy in ASEAN, is deeply concerned at the prospect of the disputes and said that good China-Japan ties are “critical” for the region. If these disputes are not resolved it will have unfavorable impacts on all countries in the region.
Mr Abe during speaking at the Tokyo summit said the financial package will be spread over five years, and will mostly take the form of concessional loans.
“Together with Asean, I want to build the future of Asia where laws, rather than power, rule and people who worked hard will be rewarded – which would lead to a prosperous society with mutual respect,” Mr Abe said at the start of the meeting.
The Tokyo summit marks 40 years of Japan’s ties with the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).