Press statement by President von der Leyen following the EU-Japan Summit:
Tokyo, 12 May 2022
Thank you. We had a very substantive summit.
But first, let me express, how glad I am to be here, in Tokyo. Because I know that the EU, in this increasingly unpredictable world, can count on one of its oldest and closest allies. And likewise because it gives me the opportunity of emphasising once again that Japan can count on the EU.
We showed this not least by ensuring the delivery of over 390 million vaccines to fight the COVID pandemic. I commend you for outstanding success of your vaccination campaign and the way you overcame the difficulties of the pandemic we have all experienced.
The EU and Japan have so much in common. Our values of course – democracy and the rule of law. Our economic model. As well as a certain vision of the world. We both promote a multilateral global system, based on rules designed to protect and benefit all.
And it is precisely because this vision is so often challenged today, that the EU is looking to strengthen its relationships with like-minded partners, such as Japan.
Quite remarkably, today marks the 28th EU-Japan summit. A testament to the depth of the bond between us. At this summit, we discussed ways to deepen our partnership.
With concrete strands of work that will create opportunities for our economies and our citizens. And that will, at the same time, help us address the challenges that our regions are confronted with.
Let me elaborate on that. The Indo-Pacific is a thriving region. It is also a theatre of tensions. Take the situation in the East and South China Sea, or the constant threat of the DPRK.
As we discussed, dear Fumio, the EU wants to take a more active role in the Indo-Pacific. We want to take more responsibility in a region so vital to our prosperity.
And this brings me to Russia. It is today the most direct threat to the world order. With the barbaric war against Ukraine. And its worrying pact with China and their call for “new” – and very much arbitrary – international relations.
Japan is part of the core group of countries that have imposed tough sanctions on Russia. Like the European Union, Japan understands what is at stake here. Not just Ukraine’s future. Not just Europe’s future. But the future of a rules-based world order.
This makes it all the more essential for like-minded partners like the EU and Japan to strengthen their relations. That is why we are here today. And we have taken some important steps forward.
First, we are launching today the EU-Japan Digital Partnership. It is the first partnership of this kind that we conclude with any partner. A forum that will give political steer and impetus for our joint work on digital technologies. Because leadership in this field is essential to our competitiveness and security.
Second, we will use our Strategic Partnership Agreement to diversify and strengthen our supply chains. This is important because there are materials and technologies that have become essential to our economy and everyday lives. Like semiconductors, for example. We must be able to count on trustworthy supply chains.
Third, we agreed to cooperate more intensively on infrastructure. In the Indo-Pacific region, as elsewhere, the investment needs are huge and the options, limited. They very often come at a price that no country, should have to pay. Encroachments on their sovereignty, for example. This is why the EU launched Global Gateway. And as we dicussed, Prime Minister Kishida, I would like to work with Japan on identifying good projects in this context, building on our two pioneering initiatives: our Connectivity Partnership and our Green Alliance.
Let me finish, Prime Minister Kishida by thanking you warmly for the admirable solidarity Japan showed by diverting some of its LNG supplies to Europe. It was at a crucial time for us, at the height of the European heating season.
We will not forget this. This shows the power of democracies working together. Thank you