The 27th Japan-EU Summit
On Thursday, May 27, commencing at 5:00 p.m. for approximately 1 hour, Mr. SUGA Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan, held the 27th Japan-European Union (EU) Summit (virtual format) 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 Prime Minister Suga took office in September last year. Japan-EU Joint Statement (English (PDF) / Japanese (PDF)) and a document on Japan-EU Green Alliance (English (PDF) / Japanese (PDF)) were issued after this summit. The overview of the summit is as follows.
1. Free and Open Indo-Pacific
- (1) Prime Minister Suga welcomed the “EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific”, which was announced in April. Both sides concurred on the importance to maintain and strengthen the rules-based free and open international order, and the necessity to unite and raise their voices against actions which undermine it.
- (2) Both sides confirmed the importance of the EU to expand its presence in the Indo-Pacific region, and to promote the Japan-EU cooperation. Both sides confirmed that they will support ASEAN’s unity and centrality, as well as the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
2. Global Challenges
- (1) Both sides announced the launch of the Japan-EU Green Alliance, and shared the view that Japan and the EU would advance cooperation in various fields, including energy transition, innovation and support to the developing countries’ transition to decarbonization and would lead the international community by accelerating climate and environmental measures.
- (2) Prime Minister Suga welcomed the participation of President von der Leyen in the COVAX AMC Summit on June 2, co-hosted by the Government of Japan and Gavi. Prime Minister Suga also expressed his expectations for cooperation of the EU and its member states.
- (3) Prime Minister Suga asked for continuous smooth vaccine exports from the EU member states to Japan, and gained the understanding of the EU side.
3. Japan-EU Relations
- (1) Both sides confirmed the continuous and steady implement of the Japan-EU EPA, and the collaboration between Japan and the EU in the fields of WTO reform and digital. Both sides welcomed the progress of cooperation based on the Japan-EU SPA and Japan-EU Connectivity Partnership, and shared the view to further promote concrete cooperation, including in the security field.
- (2) Stating that this year marks 10 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Prime Minister Suga requested that the EU lift import measures on Japanese food products as soon as possible.
- (3) Prime Minister Suga expressed his commitment to hold the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as a symbol of global unity this summer, and the EU side stated that they looked forward to the holding of the Games. Prime Minister Suga stated his expectations for EU’s early participation statement to the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan.
4. Regional Situations
- (1) Regarding China, both sides exchanged their views on the situation in the East and South China Seas, and Prime Minister Suga stated his serious concerns about China’s recent actions including the Coast Guard Law. Both sides shared the view to strongly oppose to continued and strengthened unilateral attempts to change the status quo. They also shared serious concerns about the situation surrounding Hong Kong and the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Both sides underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and concurred to encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.
- (2) Regarding North Korea, both sides shared the view to fully implement the UN Security Council resolutions to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missiles programs of all ranges. Prime Minister Suga asked for understanding and cooperation for the immediate resolution of the abductions issue and gained support from the EU side.
- (3) The three leaders also exchanged views on Myanmar, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the situation in the Middle East, among others.
5. The Next Japan-EU Summit
Both sides shared the view that they would coordinate to hold the next face-to-face Japan-EU Summit, and Prime Minister Suga stated that he looked forward to welcoming the two leaders in Japan.