Jakarta (VNA) – Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to ASEAN, and Japanese Ambassador Chiba Akira on March 23 co-chaired the 15th meeting of the ASEAN-Japan Joint Cooperation Committee. At the meeting, the Japanese side said it is working hard to roll out a comprehensive aid package to serve the formation of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED). Under the aid package, Japan will help ASEAN in designing the centre, sending Japanese experts and training experts for the grouping. During the Special ASEAN 3 Summit on COVID-19 last April, then Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced the aid package worth 50 million USD for the project. Delegates at the meeting shared the view that ASEAN-Japan cooperation programmes have been rolled out effectively amidst the pandemic. In 2020 alone, up to 32 projects valued at 22 million USD were implemented and 25 others worth 17 million USD were adopted, within the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund. Under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) programme, about 900 ASEAN youths joined training courses in Japan last year, and the number would be 700 this year. The ASEAN member countries appreciated Japan’s contributions over the past time, especially its decision to sponsor the ACPHEED, expressing a hope that the two sides will step up their comprehensive cooperation in the time ahead, particularly in such spheres as cyber security and smart city building. Chair of the Initiative of ASEAN Integration (IAI), Bang lauded Japan’s funding 11 projects within the IAI Work Plan III and suggested the country continue its support for the IAI Work Plan IV through new, result-oriented projects. 2021 is the last year when Vietnam works as the coordinator of the ASEAN-Japan relations. The role will be handed over to Thailand during the ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Meeting in August 2021./.