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Brussels, 27 May 2011
Factsheet on the 20th EU-Japan Summit in Brussels on 28 May 2011
The European Union and Japan are like-minded global partners and major economies sharing common values and principles. The EU has provided Japan with practical support as it deals with the aftermath of the terrible triple disaster of 11 March, and tangible demonstration of the bonds of friendship (or “kizuna”) between the EU and Japan. At the 19th EU-Japan Summit held in Tokyo on 28 April 2010 both sides called for a comprehensive strengthening of all aspects of Japan-EU relations.
The EU will be represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Trade, will also take part. Japan will be represented by Naoto Kan, Prime Minister of Japan.
The parties are expected to discuss the following issues:
The Summit will be an opportunity to renew EU-Japan relationship, to take it to a higher level and to strengthen cooperation in order to better face common challenges.
A joint press statement is expected to be issued at the end of the Summit.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the bilateral relationship between the European Union and Japan was dominated by trade friction. Trade and investment flows continue to be high on the agenda and relations in this field have become more constructive since the 1990s. However, there has been limited progress in dealing with a number of the EU’s long-standing concerns, in particular non-tariff barriers and access to the public procurement market in Japan. Foreign direct investment (including from the EU) is much lower in Japan than in other comparable industrialised economies.
Given the volume of trade between the EU and Japan, economic issues remain high on the agenda. Japan is the EU's sixth largest export market: in 2010 EU exports of goods to Japan were worth €44 billion, 3.2% of total EU exports, and with a 4.3% share of the EU's import market, represented by €65 billion, Japan is the six largest source of imports into the EU. Japan is the EU's 6th trading partner in overall trade volume.
In recent years, the EU-Japan relationship has expanded significantly beyond the economic arena. Both the EU and Japan are global actors and are seeking to cooperate closely on a wide range of political and global issues. They are both strongly committed to multilateralism and are important players on global governance, climate change, development cooperation, etc. The two sides have a close and intensive political dialogue covering the full range of foreign and security policy, covering issues ranging from the rapidly developing Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the situation in East Asia, Pakistan, and Central Asia to questions such as terrorism, maritime piracy or the promotion of human rights.
In terms of concrete cooperation, the EU and Japan are discussing support for institution-building efforts in the Palestinian Occupied Territory. They are also looking to enhance bilateral cooperation and coordination on humanitarian assistance and disaster management.
Background of EU-Japan relationship