The Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) was launched in 1993 following the end of the Cold War. In the subsequent years, APPF member countries have practiced mutual respect based on the principles of tolerance and flexibility, embracing diversity in terms of race, ethnic group, tradition, political regime, and values.
Beginning with the 1993 Tokyo Declaration and in later documents such as the 1997 Vancouver Declaration and the 2001 Valparaiso Declaration, we have continued to lay out ambitious goals and principles. To achieve the goal of building a common future, we have clarified our positions on the many difficult issues confronting us and engaged in frank and open debate. The APPF has risen above the region's particular interests and views to boost the unifying force of the Asia-Pacific as a whole and steadily build confidence among parliamentarians. The results of these efforts to lay the foundations for regional peace, stability, and prosperity are having an impact in a wide range of areas.
At the same time, however, the international community and the Asia-Pacific region have experienced major changes in the nearly 20 years since the APPF was created, in the face of which the time has come to revisit the APPF and consider how to position the Forum going into the future.
Taking the opportunity of this 20th Annual Meeting and the return to Tokyo, we hereby issue the New Tokyo Declaration as a reaffirmation of the immutable principles nurtured by the APPF to date and an indication of the future directions for the APPF.
1. The APPF has promoted open and non-exclusive cooperation pursuant to the seven principles governing relations among the Asia-Pacific countries espoused in the Vancouver Declaration and to the Pacific Basin Charter contained in the Valparaiso Declaration; respecting the universal values of regional peace, freedom, democracy, and basic human rights; and respecting and complying with the Charter of the United Nations and other established international norms. These comprise immutable APPF principles fostered by the Forum since the Tokyo Declaration. We parliamentarians reaffirm that we will continue to share these principles and pursue cooperation through frank and constructive dialogue toward peace, stability, and prosperity for the region.
2. We parliamentarians note the following major transformations in the Asia-Pacific and in the international community since 1993:
(1) The advance of globalization through the information revolution and other developments is deepening mutual dependence among states.
(2) The remarkable development of emerging economies has heightened both their influence on and responsibility f9r global economic stability.
(3) The Asia-Pacific region has overcome the financial crisis of the late 1990s, is addressing the financial crisis of the late 2000s, and as a result is at the vanguard of global economic growth.
3. We parliamentarians share the recognition that this region and the international community face the following challenges:
(1) Achieving sustainable growth for the Asia-Pacific region will require policy coordination among the countries of the region to establish appropriate fiscal and financial policies, redress intraregional disparities, and create a better trade balance. Moreover, the region's development is challenged by increasing demand for food and energy and surge in their prices, therefore, cooperation in ensuring the stable supply of food and energy has become essential.
(2) Given the particularly high risk of large-scale natural disasters in our region, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons, we must boost our response capacity in terms of preparedness, rehabilitation and reconstruction, and enhance our cooperation toward building more disaster-resilient societies and states.
(3) While the risk of the kind of conflict between states has now dwindled, there is a growing need to respond to emerging security threats such as indiscriminate terrorism and cyberterrorism, piracy, and strains of new infectious diseases.
(4) We have confirmed the need to make an effort towards the establishment of an open, transparent, and equal security system in the region, predicated on a collective and nonexclusive basis, the norms and principles of international law, and in account of the legitimate interests of all countries of the region.
(5) Serious global challenges are emerging, such as climate change, economic and financial crises, and sovereign debt problems, which have negatively impacted global and economic stability.
4. We parliamentarians also share the view that to resolve the above challenges facing the international community, the following actions have taken on an unprecedented importance in the areas of advanced informatization and science and technology with the view to mitigate disparities:
(1) To improve information communications infrastructure, build the foundations for information communications technology, and establish frameworks to enable appropriate and effective use of these;
(2) To promote the development of pharmaceuticals and new materials using cutting-edge science and technology, and to stimulate the related industries;
(3) To establish sustainable energies and other energy industries which emphasize environmental conservation; and
(4) To advance gene technologies, such as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, while respecting bioethics, and to promote global development that does not destroy ecosystems.
5. Responding to these circumstances, we parliamentarians affirm that our own role in terms of building a more peaceful and stable international community continues to expand. In addition, we recognize that in order to play that role, it is becoming more important than ever to develop a shared awareness of the issues at hand based on a global standpoint and to proactively advocate solutions.
6. We parliamentarians are strongly cognizant that the people of the Asia-Pacific form a community bound by a common destiny., Accordingly, we commit to working together in a continued spirit of challenge to build a "common house" that embraces the diversity of the Asia-Pacific region and thereby to advance the region even more dynamically.
7. Tolerance, moderation, and mutual support are qualities that have been nurtured over many years in the Asia-Pacific region. Drawing on these qualities, even in the face of difficulties such as large-scale natural disasters and financial crises, the people of the Asia-Pacific have reached beyond religious, racial, and ethnic differences to support each other and overcome those trials. In other words, tolerance, moderation, and mutual support are the cornerstones of our regional "common house," and we parliamentarians share the awareness.··that these qualities must be accorded full respect in cooperative efforts to develop the region.
8. Given the above, we parliamentarians have long shared the recognition that strengthening the APPF framework and procedures will be critical in positioning ourselves to respond even more precisely to the structural changes occurring in the region and in the international community and the challenges and opportunities emerging from these.
Accordingly, at the initiative of the APPF Honorary President, since 2010 work has been underway to aggregate views on directions for reform, with member countries identifying issues such as meeting agendas, the decision-making process, follow-ups to resolution documents, the composition and activities of the Executive Committee, and strengthening ties with other parliamentary fora and international institutions. Japan, as the host of this Annual Meeting, subsequently drew up the draft amendments to the APPF Rules of Procedure to provide a concrete reform proposal based on member country views. This Annual Meeting discussed the amendments and adoptedthem with some modifications.
9. We parliamentarians laud the contribution of the various parliaments in the APPF reform process and commit to working proactively to achieve the aims of the reforms both in and beyond the APPF based on this declaration and the new APPF Rules of Procedure.
Some items in the discussion on reform, such as the establishment of a permanent secretariat, were considered to require further examination. These will be intensively discussed at Annual Meetings and by the Executive Committee and other bodies to reach a conclusion at the earliest possible point.
10. Given the above, we parliamentarians are convinced that the APPF will retain its value as the most critical forum for exchange among parliamentarians in this region in terms of promoting the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific. Recognizing that the people of the AsiaPacific share a common destiny, we hereby resolve to seek solutions for the issues facing the region and the international community and to redouble our efforts to achieve regional and global prosperity.