Senior officials from the EU and Japan convened the third meeting of the EU-Japan Committee on 26 February 2021, which coordinates the implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The meeting was held online. The EU and Japan reviewed the implementation of the agreement and identified the next steps for further strengthening their relationship. The meeting has helped to prepare the ground for a future bilateral summit meeting in Tokyo when conditions allow.
The Joint Committee meeting demonstrated the breadth of the Strategic Partnership, which has already significantly deepened cooperation between the EU and Japan, as well as the high potential for its further development.
The EU and Japan affirmed their commitment to strengthen multilateralism, democracy and the rules-based international order. They underscored their efforts to protect lives and mitigate the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to contribute as closely aligned partners to global public policy in key fora such as the G7, G20, and the United Nations system, including the Human Rights Council. To support equitable and fair global access to COVID-19 vaccine, both partners are providing substantial funding support to the COVAX facility. In the case of the EU and its Member States (Team Europe), total contributions amount to over €2.2 billion.
The EU and Japan confirmed their determination rebuild more sustainable, inclusive and resilient economies. The EU’s Green Deal and Japan’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 offer promising new opportunities for a stronger alliance for cooperation on climate change and other environmental issues. This includes deepening bilateral collaboration to accelerate the transition towards climate-neutral, just and resilient societies, in keeping with Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The green transition, digital transformation and the cycle of environmental action and growth will be a fundamental part of the recovery strategy. To this end, the EU and Japan also stressed their interest in working together in the relevant multilateral fora on global biodiversity and circular economy initiatives.
The EU and Japan exchanged views on their respective approaches to the Indo-Pacific region. This included a discussion on the ongoing implementation of the EU-Japan Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure, notably on digital, transport, energy and human connectivity. Perspectives and prospects for further enhanced security cooperation were also reviewed, including in the areas of maritime security and the fight against piracy, disaster risk management, outer space and cyber security.
The EU and Japan looked into their cooperation also in a number of other areas, including digital transformation, development, research and innovation, education and culture, human rights, industry and additional potential areas of cooperation such as the fight against disinformation.
The EU delegation was led by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service. The delegation of Japan was led by Mr Hideki Uyama, Director-General, European Affairs Bureau, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Member States and services of the European Commission also participated, as well as representatives of other Japanese ministries.
The next EU-Japan Joint Committee will meet in 2022 in Brussels.