ASEAN hub may be "mired in total traffic gridlock by 2014"

The United States and Japan are the first countries to appoint special ambassadors to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, the capital city of the South East Asian community's largest member, the Republic of Indonesia. The city also hosts 89 regular embassies.

"We are proud that a lot of countries send their highest representatives of government here despite the traffic jams, floods and other annoyances," said Bagas Hapsoro, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General.

However The Jakarta Post reported that Jakarta's daily yearly traffic burden is estimated to cost $3.5 billion per year and quoted a 2007 study that projected the capital city province would be "mired in total traffic gridlock by 2014".

Japanese Ambassador to ASEAN, Takio Yamada, recognised the importance that infrastructure played in strengthening regional integration. "We are ready to assist ASEAN to make sure they have the infrastructure as a necessary condition achieving regional integration," he told the newspaper.