The highlight of the evening was the attendance of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and his wife. And the official inauguration included specially recorded video messages from Mrs Merkel and Mr Barroso.
The venue was the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower in central Roppongi. Housing a museum surrounded by a 360° viewing space, it offers unique views of Tokyo's sprawling skyline. The museum apart, the whole floor had been hired for the occasion, providing the large audience with ample space to mingle and enjoy the event.
Speaking to the assembled gathering of diplomats, businesspeople, journalists and government officials, Mr Abe observed that "relations between Japan and Europe have grown and intensified in the same way the EU was enlarged". He added "I strongly believe that in future – relying on the valuable asset of those ties and mutual trust – the EU and Japan should strive to cooperate even more closely, to continue building peace and prosperity in the world."
The opening ceremony also included short addresses by German Ambassador Mr Daerr and the head of the EU's mission to Japan, Mr Richardson. It concluded with Mr Abe cutting the blue and yellow birthday cake.
Guests were offered food and drinks from all corners of the EU, live music with special light effects and a repeated screening of a specially produced short movie on the EU. On leaving, they were also given a booklet on the EU.