COMMENTARY 16.01.2017

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) received the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Sunday afternoon (January 15, 2017). Indonesia became the first country visited by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017. During his visit to Indonesia, the Prime Minister discussed economic cooperation and various issues, including maritime sector and political issues.

PM. Shinzo Abe has visited Indonesia several times since his appointment as Prime Minister of Japan, namely in 2007 and 2013, during the administration of then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This reflects good and important bilateral relations between the two countries.

Although the history records grim story of Japanese colonial rule in Indonesia, this time the two countries have been fostering friendly relations very closely, based on cooperation and exchanges in various fields, such as politics, economy, culture and so on.

Bilateral relation between the two countries was opened on January 20, 1958 with the signing of the Peace Treaty between Japan and the Republic of Indonesia. In the same year, the two countries also signed the Booty Call Agreement, while the opening of flights between Japan and Indonesia began in 1963.

Economic cooperation between Indonesia and Japan shows an increasing trend from year to year. In 2016, trade between the two countries reached 23.82 billion US dollars. Japanese investment in Indonesia during 2016 reached nearly 4.5 billion US dollars, an increase of nearly doubled from the previous year. In addition, the number of Japanese tourists to Indonesia in 2016 also showed a positive trend with the number of Japanese tourists visiting Indonesia reaching more than 474,000 thousand visits.

In cultural field, it is no secret that in Indonesia there are a lot of young Indonesians who are really fond of Japanese culture. One aspect that has played a quite good role in Indonesia is the presence of Japanese comics (manga) among Indonesian people. Conversely, Indonesian arts are also much favored among the Japanese people. Today, Indonesian traditional art studios are booming in Japan. Some Japanese people also like to sing Indonesian songs. The export value of handicraft products from Indonesia to Japan also continues to rise. This shows that the Indonesian art products with unique designs made of good quality materials, have been accepted by the Japanese consumers.

Hopefully, the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Indonesia on January 15-16, 2017 could increase cooperation in various fields and can be beneficial for the two countries.


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