ASEAN Must Pursue Technology in Ties with Japan, Expert Says The ASEAN region must prioritize and actively pursue technological advancements in its relations with Japan, according to a Malaysian think tank director. The call for cooperation extends beyond trade and business, indicating the importance of embracing technology for mutual growth and development. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has 10 member countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Known for its economic resilience and potential, the region has been attracting significant foreign direct investment from countries around the world. In recent years, Japan has emerged as a key player in ASEAN's economic landscape. It has been one of the largest investors in the region, contributing to infrastructure development and economic growth. However, the Malaysian think tank director believes that the partnership should go beyond traditional economic ties. In an increasingly digitized world, technology has become a vital driver of growth and innovation. By leveraging Japan's technological expertise, ASEAN countries can enhance their own capabilities and competitiveness. This can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes, including job creation, knowledge transfer, and the development of new industries. Japan is internationally recognized for its advancements in technology, particularly in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and renewable energy. By collaborating with Japanese companies and institutions in these fields, ASEAN countries can tap into Japan's knowledge and experience to fuel their own technological development. Additionally, technology can strengthen ASEAN's resilience in the face of global challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of digital infrastructure and connectivity in ensuring business continuity and economic stability. By investing in technology, ASEAN can build a resilient and agile economy that is less susceptible to future crises. The think tank director also emphasized the need for ASEAN and Japan to explore new areas of cooperation beyond traditional industries. He suggested the establishment of joint research and development centers to foster innovation and address common challenges. This would require strong collaboration between governments, academia, and the private sector. Furthermore, the director highlighted the potential of technology in addressing ASEAN's development gaps. The region faces various challenges, including income inequality, access to education, and environmental sustainability. By harnessing technology, ASEAN can bridge these gaps and create a more inclusive and sustainable society. ASEAN countries have already taken steps towards embracing technology and innovation. For instance, Singapore has established itself as a global technology hub, with government initiatives to support research and development. Thailand has launched the "Thailand 4.0" initiative, focusing on digital transformation and innovation-driven growth. However, there is still room for further collaboration and capacity-building. The think tank director emphasized the importance of sharing best practices and knowledge between ASEAN and Japan. This could involve training programs, study tours, and joint research projects, among other initiatives. In conclusion, the ASEAN region should prioritize technology in its relations with Japan. By leveraging Japan's technological expertise, ASEAN countries can enhance their own capabilities and competitiveness. This can lead to mutual growth and development, as well as address common challenges and bridge development gaps. It is imperative for both ASEAN and Japan to explore new areas of collaboration and actively pursue technological advancements for the benefit of their economies and societies.
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