Many events were held throughout 2013 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the commencement of exchange between ASEAN and Japan. The strength of the ties between the two regions was recognized throughout the nation through events including the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit held in Tokyo in December as well as grass-root level events.
This momentum is likely to continue this year. The Japan-ASEAN Tourism Exchange Conference to be held in Okinawa in January will consist of specific programs which will contribute to future tourism business development of Japan and ASEAN countries including a conference involving experts and government officials of ASEAN countries, a subcommittee in which major ASEAN airlines will give lectures, a subcommittee to introduce the charm of Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar, and Laos, and business discussions involving the Japanese representatives of the major outbound travel agencies of Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia, etc.
In recent years, Okinawa has been actively involved in tourism exchanges with Islamic society, including ASEAN countries, through efforts such as Muslim tourism product development and the implementation of Bangkok – Naha and Singapore – Naha charter flights, etc. Okinawa is said to be introducing products and services which have obtained Halal certification in Japan. They will first be promoted as tourism products and ultimately be exported overseas.