Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

The 27th EU-Japan summit was held via video conference on 27 May 2021. The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

Japan was represented by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

The leaders adopted a joint statement.

The EU and Japan are united in their cooperation based on shared values and principles, including freedom, respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law, free and fair trade, effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the EU-Japan strategic partnership.

The leaders’ discussions at the summit centred around three main pillars: global issues, bilateral relations, and foreign and security policy.

Remarks by President Charles Michel on the EU-Japan Green Alliance following the 27th EU-Japan summit

Global issues

Climate change and the environment

The leaders launched the EU-Japan Green Alliance, which will boost coordinated efforts on both sides to accelerate climate and environmental action. Through this alliance, the EU and Japan will deepen their cooperation on:

  • the energy transition
  • environmental protection
  • regulatory and business cooperation
  • research and development
  • sustainable finance
  • facilitating the transition in third countries

Moreover, the EU and Japan will work together and with others to achieve the most ambitious outcomes at the COP26 on climate in November, and an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the COP15 on biodiversity in October.

COVID-19

The leaders reaffirmed their determination to defeat the pandemic. They recognised immunisation as a global public good and expressed their support for universal, equitable and affordable access to safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments.

Highlighting both sides’ substantial contributions to COVAX, they welcomed the EU’s leading role as a supplier of vaccines around the world, including to Japan. The leaders committed to working towards the expansion of vaccine production and keeping supply chains open and called for unnecessary export and travel restrictions not to be implemented.

With Japan, we are firmly committed to COVAX. Prime Minister Suga will host the COVAX pledging summit next week. We hope these efforts will help secure sufficient resources to vaccinate 30% of the world’s population by the end of this year.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

To ensure that the world is better prepared to respond to global health emergencies, the EU and Japan will coordinate their efforts to support, reinforce and reform the World Health Organization (WHO) and engage in the discussions on an international treaty on pandemics within the WHO framework.

Multilateralism

The EU and Japan are determined to uphold the rules-based international order with the UN at its core and to strengthen multilateral institutions. They will continue to show leadership in responding to global challenges and accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The leaders also committed to strengthening trilateral cooperation with the United States.

The EU and Japan support strengthening and reforming the World Trade Organization as a central pillar of the global economic system. They will work together to ensure a successful WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva (30 November to 3 December 2021).

Digital transformation

The EU and Japan will collaborate to promote global standards and comprehensive – including regulatory – approaches to digital policies and technologies.

The EU wants to make the next ten years our “digital decade”. We will work with Japan on emerging technologies, critical materials, 5G and 6G, artificial intelligence, data, and platforms. This will boost the competitiveness of both the EU and Japan and set standards in multilateral fora.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

The leaders underlined their joint commitment to high standards of protection for personal data. They undertook to continue cooperation on the “Data Free Flow with Trust” initiative with a view to facilitating safe and secure cross-border data flows by enhancing security and privacy.

Infographic – EU-Japan trade: facts and figures.

EU-Japan relations

The leaders welcomed the positive results of the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement (EPA) in the two years since its entry into force. They confirmed that the full implementation of the EPA will remain a joint priority.

The leaders emphasised that it is their mutual priority to promote sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based connectivity through the EU partnership for sustainable connectivity and quality infrastructure. Japan is the first country with which the EU has concluded a connectivity partnership.

The leaders also committed to expanding cooperation between both sides’ industrial, science, research & innovation, and space sectors. This includes the possibility for Japan to be associated with the Horizon Europe research programme.

Foreign and security policy

Indo-Pacific region

The leaders agreed to enhance cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive, based on the rule of law and democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion. They will seek to strengthen cooperation with ASEAN in the region and will also work with the South Asian and Pacific Island countries.

The leaders expressed their serious concern about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions.

The EU decided to reinforce its strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific. We have a strong interest to intensify our cooperation with Japan in maritime security, technology cooperation, cybersecurity, disinformation – and to promote fundamental values and principles in the region.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

Other foreign policy and security issues

The EU and Japan will enhance consultations on security, particularly on non-proliferation and disarmament and on countering hybrid threats and expand practical cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity, maritime security and crisis management.

The leaders recognised the importance of transparent, reliable and fact-based information and agreed to continue dialogues on countering disinformation. They also reiterated their commitment to promoting an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace.

The EU and Japan will remain steadfast in their support for nuclear non-proliferation efforts, including to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement by North Korea of its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missiles programmes of all ranges. The leaders reiterated their joint support for preserving the Iran/Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and ensuring its full implementation.

The EU and Japan will consult and coordinate closely on other regional affairs such as Afghanistan, Belarus, Myanmar, Ukraine, the Middle East Peace Process, Syria, the Sahel, Libya, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the Eastern Mediterranean. They will also continue exchanges on their respective relationships with China and Russia.

Background

The last EU-Japan summit took place in Brussels on 25 April 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 summit was replaced by a leaders’ meeting via videoconference on 26 May 2020.

EU-Japan relations are based on a strategic partnership agreement (SPA) and an economic partnership agreement (EPA). Both were signed at the EU-Japan summit in 2018 and have been applied since February 2019.

In September 2019, the two sides also signed the EU-Japan Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure. It represents the EU’s first-ever connectivity partnership with a third country (the second was concluded on 8 May 2021, with India).

Source: Main results of the EU-Japan summit

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