Europe-Japan relations: shaping the future


28 January 2016


Institute for European Studies, Karel van Miert Building, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels

The relationship between Europe and Japan is not what it used to be – especially during the days of Japan’s growth to an economic superpower and the model for all other Asian economies. While the European Union (EU) has grown to a union of 28 countries since the end of the Cold War, Asia has increasingly benefited from, and learned to live with, the challenge of a rising China. Consequently, both the EU and Japan seem to have increasingly disregarded the potential for cooperation, despite holding many shared values, interests and a considerable global influence.


In 2015, ECFR has conducted an audit on the state of Europe-Japan relations in nine European capitals. The audit shows that the perception that Japan is still punching below its weight in international politics retains a lot of traction in Europe. But the perceived paradox about Japan is no longer between economics and politics. It is about the lack of significant international cooperation between Europe and Japan, despite both sides claiming their shared values and the importance of values in their foreign policies.

On the basis of the audit conducted by ECFR, we are delighted to invite you to the event “Europe-Japan relations: shaping the future” in cooperation with Egmont and the Institute of European Studies of Vrije Universiteit. The event will address three main questions:

  • What role do Europe and Japan expect of each other, especially with regards to global governance, international security and the future of multilateralism?
  • How to build a substantial agenda of strategic cooperation between Europe and Japan?
  • Is East Asian maritime security an area of common concern for Europe and Japan?

The discussion will feature Professor Kazuya Sakamoto, who teaches International Politics and Diplomatic History at Osaka University, ECFR Council member and former German Ambassador to Japan and China, Dr. Volker Stanzel and Dr. Mathieu Duchâtel, Senior Policy Fellow and Deputy Director of ECFR’s Asia Programme. The event will be chaired by Mr. Thomas Renard, Senior Research Fellow at the Egmont Institute.

Doors will open at 11:00. Directions to the workshop venue are accessible here.
Please register by Tuesday 26 January.

(Photo credit: EEAS, Flickr)