Australia has played an important role in the success of ASEAN`s recovery and consolidation over the fifth decade and beyond. The development of ASEAN`s cooperation and regional confidence have benefited Australia`s security environment. ASEAN`s rapid economic growth has made its members a priority for Australian trade. As a result, successive governments have confirmed the value of Australia-ASEAN relations. However, progress towards the goals of the socio-cultural community will continue to be hampered by ASEAN`s style of consensual decision-making and the challenge of translating stated goals into concrete policies. This persistent challenge has been illustrated in the area of forest destruction and the regional problem of brush. In the ten years since the pollution problem received a great deal of attention, ASEAN has addressed this issue through a number of agreements, including the 2002 ASEAN agreement on cross-border haze pollution. Although important dialogues and studies have continued, the effects of the agreement have been limited by Indonesia`s refusal to ratify it so far, as the agreement is seen as likely to harm the country`s economic interests.  Reports from August 2008 suggested that the tidal problem continues to be a problem for neighbouring states, including Singapore and Malaysia.  The issue of the sea underscores both the relevance of the ASCC objectives and the challenges ASEAN countries face in their implementation.
Since the end of World War II, Japan has developed close and cooperative ties in Southeast Asia. In these relations, Japan had fewer problems with the legacies of past activities than often in North-East Asia: Japan was not a long-term colonial power in Southeast Asia and its presence during World War II was seen, at least in part, in some countries (such as Indonesia) as a catalyst that facilitated the decline of European colonial sovereignty. Japan`s trade and investment sector has played an important role in the economic development of Southeast Asia and since the 1980s, Japanese industry has relocated many production sites to the region. . Alice D. Ba, China and ASEAN: Renavigating relations for a 21st century Asia , Asian Survey, nr. XLII, No 4, August 2003, p.