Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

October 22th, 2015

The 13th ASEAN and Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies

○Date & Venue

Date: From 20 to 22 October 2015

Venue: ANA CROWNE PLAZA KOBE, Kobe city, Hyogo, Japan


○Participants: total 100 participants


○Theme: People-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction and Restoration

○Discussion Points

- Provision of medical care at the time of disaster
- Living support for the affected people by disaster from the viewpoint of community welfare
- Employment support and creation for the affected people during the reconstruction phase
- Community-based disaster preparedness to support vulnerable people
- Cooperation and collaboration between Japan and the ASEAN region on disaster risk reduction and preparedness in the fields of health, welfare and labour

○Organizer: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Study Visit
Thursday, 22 October 2015

【Adopted Recommendations】

 Based on the information and knowledge shared at this meeting, participants discussed common issues and measures to all countries and future approaches by healthcare, welfare, and labour, and adopted the following recommendation by participant’s consensus:


  • We, the participants representing the health, social welfare and labour sectors of the ASEAN plus Three countries, along with international, regional and related organizations and partners, at the 13th ASEAN and Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies (hereafter referred to as the Meeting) held in Kobe, Japan on October 20-22, 2015, under the theme, "People-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction and Restoration";
  • Appreciating the continued initiative taken by the Government of Japan to hold these annual Meetings since 2003, and acknowledge that this 13th Meeting serves as an effective platform to share information and exchange views about the roles of stakeholders in public health, social welfare and labour sectors to improve peoplecentered disaster risk reduction and restoration in the ASEAN region;
  • Welcoming the achievements of the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction hosted by Japan last March 2015 in Sendai, that was shared during discussions in the Meeting;
  • Acknowledging that, despite the difference of types and scales in the disasters they are faced with, ASEAN Member Countries and Japan share people-centered riskreduction and restoration as a common and valuable approach to tackling these issues;
  • Further acknowledging that each stakeholder in the community, including women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons, have specific needs in time of disasters that should be properly addressed while taking into account their active roles in building disaster resilient communities;
  • Recognizing that damage from disasters in one country or area can impact the industry and labour markets of other countries and note the importance to enhance the scope of disaster management to wider areas;
  • Stressing the need for and value of cross-sectoral collaboration amongst different sectors, departments or ministries within government, levels of government, professions, and across countries to enhance disaster preparedness, response and recovery;
  • Noting the ASEAN Leaders through the "ASEAN Declaration on Enhancing Cooperation in Disaster Management" issued at the 23rd ASEAN Summit in October 2013 encouraged a joint effort and more integrated coordination and synergy in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) among the various ASEANrelated mechanisms including the establishment of the Joint Task Force to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Bodies on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (JTF-HADR);
  • Further welcoming the initiatives of moving towards "One ASEAN, One Response:ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One".


We, the participants of the Meeting have agreed:

  • The proceedings and outcomes of this 13th Meeting should be reported to the respective Ministers and other Senior Officials in each country;
  • Japan, with the support of the ASEAN Secretariat, should report the proceedings and outcomes of this meeting to the ASEAN+3 Health Ministers and Senior Officials Meetings on Health Development (AHMM+3, SOMHD+3), ASEAN+3 Ministers and Senior Officials Meetings on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD+3, SOMSWD+3) and ASEAN+3 Labour Ministers and Senior Officials Meetings (ALMM+3, SLOM+3).
  • The ASEAN Secretariat will also facilitate the reporting of the outcomes of this meeting to the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM).


We call upon all participants to:

  1. Acknowledge that when faced with a disaster, every affected individual faces vulnerabilities. As such, preparedness as well as measures for response and recovery from disasters should be addressed taking into account, and involving the participation of, the specific situation and needs of women and those who tend to face particular vulnerabilities, including children, older persons, and persons with disabilities;
  2. Recognize the value of disaster risk management approaches for all types of hazards.
  3. Further reinforce health emergency preparedness, systems and plans so that they are in place to provide possible initial responses to save peoples’ lives in disasters and to ensure health and wellbeing of survivors of disasters;
  4. Improve capacity building through adaptation of technical guidelines, practical training, implementation of the IHR core capacities;
  5. Strengthen cooperation among public and private sectors, NGOs, volunteers, academia and any other related stakeholders to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and support for the affected people, including through assessing disaster risk, stockpiling essential products to address disasters, considering evacuation plans, engaging communities, and building capacity of leaders in communities at emergency situation;
  6. Work to establish and reinforce national disaster health risk management, including through the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) and ensuring basic functioning of health systems through universal health coverage, to enhance preparedness in ordinary times, conduct risk assessment, and improve response in emergency times;
  7. Note providing decent work and sustainable jobs to people affected, including people with disability are essential for recovery from disasters;
  8. Recognize that the post-disaster phase provides an opportunity to implement measures that can help countries and regions become more resilient to disasters including through building back better, developing infrastructure for disaster risk reduction, and considering investment for infrastructure restoration with view to create and support employment in the damaged areas;
  9. Improve capacity building of a broad range of stakeholders, not limited to governmental organizations, related to disaster management including NGOs, volunteers and communities, and furthermore, to increase communities’ awareness of disaster risk and its capacity to manage. When developing and evaluating a plan to tackle disasters, past experience in managing disasters should be recalled and used well for it, applying lessons for "Build Back Better";
  10. Recognize that because economic linkages, climate change and rapid urbanization have proceeded in the ASEAN region, the damage caused by and impact of disasters can be magnified in many countries. Therefore, efforts that reach beyond borders are essential for disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery;
  11. Enhance sharing of knowledge, experiences, technological and social innovations across countries related to public health, social welfare and labour for disaster preparedness, management, and response, as well as facilitating cross-sectoral collaboration, among the ASEAN Member States, Japan, ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), WHO, ILO, JICA, Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), ADB, and any other related international and regional organizations and partners;
  12. Support the implementation of global development agenda such as Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals that are reinforcing with ASEAN’s one response to disasters.
Report on the 13th ASEAN & Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies (with photos) (PDF:1,093KB)


Background of the Meeting

The ASEAN and Japan High-Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies has been held since 2003 for the purpose of enhancing the development of human resources in health and social welfare in ASEAN regions and strengthening cooperative relationship between Japan and ASEAN countries.
Until the 8th Meeting held in 2010, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) invited high-level officials in charge of health and social welfare policies from the 10 ASEAN countries. From the 9th Meeting held in 2011, MHLW has invited officials in charge of employment policies as well as those in charge of health and social welfare policies for the promotion of cooperation in these three fields.
The Meeting is recognized as a vital platform which supports the ASEAN Plus Three (Japan, People’s Republic of China, and Republic of Korea) Health Ministers’Meetings (AHMM+3) and the ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meetings on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD+3) among the ASEAN countries. Japan reported the results of the Meeting to the above-mentioned ASEAN Plus Three Ministers’Meetings.
ASEAN countries expressed profound expectation for the continuation of the Meetings.

○Past themes of the ASEAN & Japan High Level Officials Meeting on Caring Societies

The 1st Meeting November, 2003 Human Resource Development for Social Welfare and Health Services
The 2nd Meeting August, 2004 Development of Human Resources and Implications of Aging Societies
The 3rd Meeting August, 2005 Health and Welfare Services for Children and People with Disabilities
The 4th Meeting August, 2006 Support to Vulnerable People (Children and Women)
The 5th Meeting August, 2007 Collaboration of Social Welfare and Health Services, and Development of Human Resources and Community
-Community Services for the Elderly-
The 6th Meeting September, 2008 Healthy Next Generation:
- Strengthening Joint Collaboration between Health and Social Welfare -
The 7th Meeting August, 2009 Towards an Inclusive Society
-Strengthening the collaboration between social welfare, health and medical systems for Children with Disabilities-
The 8th Meeting August, 2010 Poverty alleviation with a focus on vulnerable people
- through strengthening collaboration between the social welfare and health services-
The 9th Meeting October, 2011 Human resource development in the sectors of welfare and health
-with a focus on capacity building of service providers and employability promotion of vulnerable people-
The 10th Meeting October, 2012 Caring Societies for the Socially Vulnerable Suffering after Natural Disaster
The 11th Meeting December, 2013 Active Aging
The 12th Meeting December, 2014 Resilient Communities for Active Aging