Japan-EU Relations

October 16, 2014
Photo1 (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
Photo2 (Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
  1. On October 16 (local time), commencing at 1:20 p.m. for approximately 20 minutes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was on his visit to Milan, held a Summit Meeting with H.E. Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and H.E. Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, in the conference room of the ASEM Summit Meeting. This was the sixth meeting the leaders have held in a period of approximately one year, and so the meeting took place in a very relaxed atmosphere.
  2. At the beginning, Prime Minister Abe said he wants to cooperate solidly toward the success of the ASEM 10 Summit Meeting with President Van Rompuy, who served as the ASEM Chair. In response President Van Rompuy welcomed that Japan-EU relations are growing closer under Prime Minister Abe, and extended his sincere condolences and sympathy over the damage caused by the series of natural disasters that struck Japan. Additionally, President Van Rompuy welcomed participation at a high level to the ASEM Summit Meeting especially from Asia. President Barroso said Europe emphasizes the importance of its relationship with Japan, and that current Japan-EU relations are exemplary and this is due to the personal commitment shown by Prime Minister Abe.
  3. Next, on concrete progress in Japan-EU relations, Prime Minister Abe said that together with the EU he wants to accelerate negotiations in order to reach agreement in principle on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) during 2015, and also wants to continue to cooperate on concluding the Japan-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) as rapidly as possible. Prime Minister Abe welcomed the commencement of the Japan-EU Space and Cyber Dialogues and the cooperation taking place in the field of security policy. In response, President Van Rompuy stated that he wants to advance negotiations with Japan on the EPA and the SPA, while President Barroso stated that the EU wants to maintain economic, trade and political dialogues with Japan and that he would like to finalize the EPA by negotiating it at full speed, so that he and President Van Rompuy may leave the resistance to protectionism as their legacy.
  4. Additionally, President Van Rompuy expressed gratitude for Japan’s solidarity and cooperation regarding the situation in Ukraine, and Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan is working in step with the G7.
  5. Prime Minister Abe said he hopes for participation from the EU in the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction being held in Sendai in March next year. President Barroso said he welcomes the opportunity to cooperate with Japan in the field of disaster reduction, and certainly wants the EU to participate in next year’s Conference.
  6. At the end of the meeting, Prime Minister Abe mentioned that President Van Rompuy enjoys haiku, and presented President Barroso and President Van Rompuy, who will step down soon, with two haiku: "Ishizue wo, kizuita kimi ni, isuru aki (My thoughts make their way, To the cornerstone you laid, On this autumn day)" and "Hanamichi wo, ayumu futariya, aki no sora (Under autumn skies, Two men tread in triumph off the stage in glory)" In response, President Van Rompuy expressed his heartfelt gratitude.

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