There were approximately 140 participants drawn from the research world, representing the Government of Japan, research funding agencies, research institutes, academia, industry, EU member states, countries associated to Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme, European research organisations, and other key partners in Japan.
Dr. Gediminas Ramanauskas, Head of the Science, Innovation, Digital, and Other Policies Section, thanked the participants for their collaboration over the course of 2019 and emphasised the importance to further enhance and deepen the EU-Japan relations in the field of research and innovation.
In his welcome address, Mr. Francesco Fini, Minister of the European Union to Japan, expressed his gratitude to the guests for their support and cooperation with the EU in 2019. Minister Fini highlighted how the EU-Japan cooperation in research and innovation is more strategic than ever and how it can be built on solid instruments such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and the Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure between the EU and Japan. Minister Fini presented research, innovation, science and technology as very important areas to collaborate on and described the EU-Japan cooperation in these fields as long-lasting and solid. Minister Fini emphasised that the EU and Japan research priorities are very similar and connected as both sides face the same societal challenges. In order to achieve much more together in 2020 and beyond, Minister Fini expects progress in ongoing joint activities and enhanced mobility for researchers. Minister Fini welcomed the achievements made so far and encouraged further collaboration in science, technology and innovation between the EU and Japan.
In his address, Mr. Yoshio Yamawaki, Deputy Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, highlighted major milestones in 2019: the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the EU-Japan Cooperation Agreement in Science and Technology, an agreement concluded in 2019 between the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the European Research Council (ERC) to expand young researchers exchanges and the EU-USA-Japan international symposium on Quantum Technology which reaffirmed the importance of quantum technology for these 3 regions. Deputy Minister Yamawaki gave example of major science and technology joint activities expected to take place in 2020: the launch of a new joint funding research project by JST and the European Commission in the field of biofuel to contribute to sustainable development, the launch of new researcher exchange programmes by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) in relation with the ERC and the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial which will take place in Tokyo in November 2020.
In his address, Mr. Koichi Akaishi, Vice-Minister for Innovation Policy at Cabinet Secretariat, highlighted that the EU and Japan have always found solutions to enhance their cooperation, despite facing many challenges. Vice-Minister Akaishi gave the example of the challenging negotiations that finally led to the adoption in January 2019 of an adequacy decision to allow safe data free flow between the two economies. Vice-Minister Akaishi also expects active innovation cooperation in 2020 and beyond as Japan is preparing its 6th Science and Technology Basic Plan and the EU is preparing for Horizon Europe. Now is the time to dramatically enhance innovation cooperation and Vice-Minister Akaishi emphasised that despite the difficulties and the differences between both sides, the EU and Japan can have a good cooperation in innovation and achieve a lot together.
In his toast address, Dr. Hideyuki Tokuda, President of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), informed about how he personally started to work on EU-Japan research cooperation with the "ClouT" (Cloud of Things) joint project between the EU and Japan in 2013. President Tokuda emphasised how using cloud technology and the Internet of Things was very exciting at that time and also how the collaboration between EU and Japanese researchers was important. President Tokuda highlighted that the Japanese society faces the same challenges as EU countries such as climate change and ageing population but that most importantly, both sides share common values. President Tokuda dedicated his toast to an enhanced cooperation between the EU and Japan to create together a better society.
EU Delegation to Japan
Europa House, 4-6-28 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku