Network of East Asian Think-Tanks (NEAT)

The 5th Annual Conference of NEAT

The 5th Annual Network of East Asia Think-tanks (NEAT) Conference was held in Singapore from August 20-22, 2007. The East Asia Institute at Singapore National University hosted the conference, and around 60 representatives and experts from the 13 ASEAN+3 nations participated.

There were nine participants from Japan, including ITO Kenichi, President of the Council on East Asian Community (CEAC) and President & CEO of Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR), KAWAI Masahiro, Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, SHINDO Eiichi, Professor Emeritus of Tsukuba University, HASEGAWA Kouichi, Singapore Bureau Chief of the Japan Center for International Finance, HIRONO Ryokichi, Professor Emeritus of Seikei University, HONNA Jun, Assistant Professor of Ritsumeikan University, YAMASHITA Eiji, Professor of Osaka City University, MURAKAMI Masayasu, Acting Executive Vice-President of CEAC, and YANO Takuya, CEAC Officer in Charge.

The conference heard reports on the results of the activities from six working groups – East Asian Financial Cooperation (sponsored by China), Overall Architecture of Community Building in East Asia (sponsored by Japan), East Asian Cooperative Framework for Migrant Labor (sponsored by Malaysia), Enhancement of East Asian Cultural Exchange (sponsored by Korea), Energy Security Cooperation in East Asia (sponsored by Singapore), and East Asian Investment Cooperation (sponsored by China) – which was followed by a lively discussion involving all members.

The Country Coordinators Meeting (CCM), NEAT's highest decision making body, put together policy recommendations to be submitted by NEAT to the ASEAN+3 heads of state summit to be held in Singapore in November. Singapore distributed proposals as host nation, but as these were summaries of the reports from the six working groups framed for presentation at this conference, Japan suggested that some reference also be made to East Asian Community aims, principles and values. After some deliberation, it was decided that "good governance, the rule of law, democracy, human rights and international law and norms" as agreed to at the Kuala Lumpur conference last year and the Tokyo conference the previous year also be included.

A passage conveying the hope that the planned statement to be made at the ASEAN+3 heads of state summit in November reflects the above universal values of the NEAT policy recommendations was also inserted at the last minute on Japan's insistence.

Indonesia will host the NEAT conference next year.