Japan-EU Relations

May 26, 2020
Japan-EU Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting 1 Japan-EU Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)
Japan-EU Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting 2 Japan-EU Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting
(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

On May 26 (Tue), commencing at 6:00 p.m. for approximately 1 hour, Mr. ABE Shinzo, Prime Minister of Japan, held a Japan-EU Leaders Video Teleconference Meeting with H. E. Mr. Charles Michel, President of the European Council and H. E. Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

This meeting marked the first talk to be held among the three leaders since the formation of new EU leadership in December last year. The exchange of opinions that followed focused on countermeasures against the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including economic measures aimed at recovery, while the leaders affirmed the collaboration between Japan and the EU. A Japan-EU joint press release (English (PDF)Open a New Window / Japanese (PDF)Open a New Window) was issued on the occasion of this meeting. The overview of the talk is as follows.

1 Measures against COVID-19 infection

(1) The three leaders asserted Japan and the EU would cooperate closely as strategic partners with shared fundamental values and adopt even greater roles and responsibilities in the global challenges against the spread of COVID-19.

(2) The EU expressed their gratitude for Prime Minister Abe’s participation in, and Japan’s contribution to, the Coronavirus Global Response Summit (held May 4). In response, Prime Minister Abe welcomed the initiative taken by the EU to hold this summit and also stated the importance of assisting developing countries with vulnerable health systems while maintaining the circulation of vital commodities, including medical supplies, and facilitating their trade.

(3) The EU stated that Europe would endeavor to implement economic measures following its Roadmap for Recovery in order to reliably achieve economic recovery. Prime Minister Abe responded by firstly explaining Japan’s economic measures, then expressed the increased importance of constructing and expanding a highly secure and reliable telecommunications infrastructure from the perspective of maintaining economic activity during the current global crisis. He also added that, for reasons of guaranteeing security, it was essential to manage appropriately the construction of a resilient supply chain and direct investment by foreigners, as well as continuing to make progress in fields such as digital transformation of the economy including 5G and beyond 5G research and development, while maintaining cooperation between Japan and the EU.

(4) In the domain of global health, Prime Minister Abe welcomed the resolutions adopted at the 73rd World Health Assembly of the WHO and paid his respect to the role of the EU leadership for coordination. The three leaders emphasized the importance of implementing a process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation based on the resolution and, from the standpoint of preventing future pandemics, strengthening our readiness and response capacities and, shared an awareness of the pressing issue of reforming relevant international organizations including WHOOpen a New Window and enhancing their efficiency. They also confirmed the importance of continuing international cooperation in a transparent and prompt manner, and openness.

(5) The three leaders then discussed the impact on geopolitical situations in light of COVID-19 and reiterated their commitment to upholding the rule-based international order. They also confirmed their resolve to counter disinformation, in accordance with shared principles such as freedom of expression and the rule of law given the importance of access to fact-based information.

(6) The three leaders shared the view to cooperate toward the successful G7 summit.

2 Japan-EU Relations

(1) Prime Minister Abe conveyed his support for the strong and united EU as strategic partners with shared fundamental values and, with the unprecedented closeness of the relationship between Japan and the EU based upon Japan-EU EPA and SPA, stated he was looking forward to building a new level of Japan-EU relations with President Michel and President von der Leyen. Prime Minister Abe also expressed the effective application of EPA would prove even more important in ensuring steadfast economic recovery of both sides following the COVID-19 crisis, as well as his determination to develop greater cooperation under SPA, such as sustainable connectivity, quality infrastructure, and global issues.

(2) The EU stated that the Japan-EU relationship is closer than ever based on EPA and SPA, and bilateral cooperation should be deepened in the wide fields including green deal and digital which the EU emphasizes.

(3) The three leaders shared the view to arrange to convene at the next Japan-EU Summit once the COVID-19 situation has been resolved.

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