The European Union (EU) and Japan are both advanced industrialised democracies, sharing important core values, with economies accounting together for 40% of global GDP.
EU-Japan relations have logically broadened in the last decades, far beyond the trade-related focus which prevailed in the 70s. Two key documents have indeed anchored today's bilateral relationship between the EU and Japan: the Joint Declaration of 1991, establishing common principles and shared objectives, and the Action Plan of 2001, establishing a strong partnership over a 10 year period.
To support the development of bilateral relations, a number of agreements have been concluded and various institutional mechanisms have been agreed on, including an annual EU-Japan Summit, at the level of the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Japanese Prime Minister.
For further information, please visit the section devoted to the EU's relations with Japan (DG Relex) of the website of the European Commission's Directorate General External Relations.
European and Japanese officials at the
EU-Japan Summit of May 2009 in Prague
Bilateral Trade Relations
Japan is the world's second largest economy (12,5% of world GDP, 2% of world population) with imports and exports of goods amounting (in 2004) to €352,3 and €421,1 billion respectively (6,20% and 7,91 % of the world flows).
With a share of 4,1% (2005) of the EU exports, Japan is the fifth largest export market, while with a share of 6,2% (2005) of the EU import market, Japan is the fourth largest source of imports into the EU. At the end of 2003, 5,03% of the stock of EU inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) came from Japan, while 1,82% of the stock of EU outward FDI was in Japan.
Both partners recognise the strategic interest of strengthening their trade and investment links, and have created various instruments to support it, including a two-way Regulatory Reform Dialogue. They also actively cooperate in multilateral fora.
For further information, please visit the section devoted to the EU's trade relations with Japan (DG Trade), of the website of the European Commission's Directorate General External Trade.
ICT in Japan
Japan is a well-known leading country
worldwide in ICT, when considering the development
status of ICT in the Japanese society (mobile telephony,
broadband Internet, terrestrial digital television,
intelligent homes, RFID, etc.) and the strength of
its ICT industry as well (the market value of the
Japanese ICT industry amounts to around 120 trillion
In January 2001, the Japanese government
formulated the e-Japan strategy, which aimed at "making
Japan the world's most advanced IT nation within five
years", while in July 2003 the vision
of a "new, Japan-inspired IT society" was launched centered on
three use axes: the ubiquitous network society, the
age of high-quality images, and the interconnection
of the Internet and digital television.
R&D spending in ICT is of approximately 7 trillion yen (70% from the Japanese industry and 30% from universities, public bodies, NGOs, etc.). Between January and September 2003, over 13 000 ICT related patents have been registered in Japan, representing 2,1 times the number registered in Europe.
For further information on the status and perspectives of the ICT sector in Japan, please refer to the "White Paper 2008" released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan.
EU-Japan S&T cooperation in the ICT area
A number of Japanese ICT companies (namely large corporations) have established quite important research teams in Europe, since a long time for most of them. These teams have been, year after year, increasingly involved in collaborative projects funded through European Union's research programmes, including the FP6 IST Programme, which ended in 2006.
However, the participation of Japanese organisations based in Japan (large corporations but also smaller companies, universities, research institutes, etc.) in EU-funded projects in the ICT area has remained quite low over the years, particularly when compared to the level of participation of organisations from other leading industrialized or emerging countries (see illustration below).
Please refer to the EU-funded Projects section of this website to get more information on past and ongoing EU-funded research projects with the participation of Japanese organisations based in Japan.
This situation should improve in the next years: the ICT theme of the FP7 EU research programme (launched in 2007) opens new perspectives for the development of EU-Japan S&T cooperation in the ICT area. Moreover, the S&T Agreement that should soon be signed between the EU and Japan will improve the overall cooperation framework and boost the emergence of cooperation projects.