Japan-Thailand Relations

Japan-Thailand Relations (Basic Data)

September 6, 2019

Basic Data

Diplomatic relations:

  • Established in September 1887

Number of Residents:

  • Number of Japanese Nationals residing in Thailand: 72,754 (as of Oct. 2017)
  • Number of Thai Nationals residing in Japan: 51,003 (as of June. 2018)

Number of Visitors:

  • Number of Japanese Nationals visiting Approx. 1.64 million (2018)
  • Number of Thai Nationals visiting Japan Approx. 1.14 million (2018)

Japan-Thailand Trade (Yen: billion)

Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
from Thailand to Japan 30,093 30,515 20,697 29,937 29,885 34,889 35,072 33,198 33,870 29,744 33,004 35,625
from Japan to Thailand 21,536 21,522 14,952 18,400 19,532 18,857 21,503 22,995 24,711 21,896 25,502 27,707

(Source: Ministry of Finance, Japan)

Japan-Thailand EPA (JTEPA)

  • Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA, November 2007)

VIP Visits

Japan to Thailand
Year Name
2006 Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan
2007 His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino
2009 Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister for Foreign Affairs
2009 Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister
2009 Mr. Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister
2010 Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs
2011 His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino
2012 His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito
2012 His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino
2013 Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister
2016 Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs
2017 Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan
2017 Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino
2018 Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs
2018 Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino
2019 Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Thailand to Japan
Year Name
2006 H.E. Pol. Lt. Col. Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister
2006 H.E. Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2006 H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
2006 H.R.H. Princess Chulaborn
2007 H.E. Mr. Nitya Phibunsongkhram, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2007 Gen. Surayud Chulanont, Prime Minister
2007 H.R.H. Princess Chulaborn
2008 H.E. Mr. Nitya Phibunsongkhram, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2008 H.E. Mr. Noppadol Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2008 H.R.H. Princess Chulaborn
2009 H.R.H. Princess Soamsawali
2009 H.E. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister
2009 H.E. Mr. Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2010 H.E. Mr. Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2010 H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
2010 H.R.H. Princess Chulaborn
2012 H.E. Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister
2012 H.E. Dr. Surapong Tovijakchaikul, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2013 H.E. Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister
2013 H.E. Dr. Surapong Tovijakchaikul, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2013 H.R.H. Princess Chulaborn
2013 H.E. Mr. Niwattamrong Bunsongpaissan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce
2014 H.E. Mr. Prawit Wongsuwon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
2015 H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister
2015 H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
2015 H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister
2015 H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
2015 H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
2015 H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister
2015 H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
2015 H.E. Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister
2016 H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2016 H.E. Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister
2016 H.R.H. Princess Chulaborn
2017 H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister
2017 H.E. Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister
2017 H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2017 H.R.H. Princess Chulaborn
2018 H.E. Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister
2018 H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister
2019 H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2019 H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
2019 H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The History of Bilateral Relations Between Thailand and Japan

Japan and Thailand have been maintaining a long cordial relationship.

Historical records attest to the existence of relations between Ryukyu (Okinawa) and Ayudhaya as far back as the 15th century. Trade between the two countries became active during the 17th century, at which time the Japanese community in Ayudhaya flourished. But after Japan adopted the policy of Sakoku, a policy of closing the country to the outside world, in 1639, the community began to decline. Centuries later, a new chapter of the relations in modern history began with the Declaration of Amity and Commerce between Japan and Siam in 1887. At that time, Japanese experts on law, education, sericulture and so forth were dispatched to Thailand to contribute to the modernization of the country. At the time of World War II, Thailand, allied with Japan, declared war against the United States of America and the United Kingdom, but made the said declaration null after the War.

The year 2017 marks the 130 years anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Thailand. A number of ceremonies and events are expected to be organized in both countries to commemorate the auspicious year.

Symbolized by the close relationship between the Imperial Family of Japan and the Royal Family of Thailand, the two countries now engage in many forms of personnel exchange, carried out in various fields, such as politics and economics, among others.

The Relationship Between the Imperial Family of Japan and the Royal Family of Thailand

The Imperial Family of Japan and the Royal Family of Thailand have traditionally been on friendly terms with each other. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan's visit to Thailand as their first overseas trip in 1991 after their enthronement and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's visit to Japan in May 1997 well epitomize the intimacy existing in the ties between the Imperial Family of Japan and the Royal Family of Thailand. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited Thailand in 2006 to attend the ceremony in Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty the King's Accession the Throne. In March 2017, Their Majesties paid a condolence visit to Thailand to show respect for His Majesty the former King Bumibol Adulyadej who passed away in Oct 2016. Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino visited Thailand to attend royal cremation ceremony for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Oct 2017. May 2019 was a memorable time for both the Imperial Family of Japan and the Royal Family of Thailand when His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito acceded throne in Japan and the coronation ceremony for His Majesty the King Maha Vajiralongkorn was held in Thailand.

Political and Security relationship

After cooperation with each other to solve the problem of Cambodia, Thailand and Japan have been building a relationship that exceeds the bounds of their bilateral relationship through close dialogues and cooperation in their combined efforts to solve the problems of the Southeast Asian region and the Asia-Pacific region. Since May 1998 the two countries have held their Politico-Military Talks between Japan and Thailand once every year, while their cooperation in security issues is also being duly strengthened. In 2012, Japan and Thailand upgraded the relationship to a strategic partnership.

Economics and Economic Cooperation

Due to the appreciation of the yen, Japanese companies vigorously moved into Thailand in the 1980s. Presently more than 1,700 Japanese companies are registered at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok. 29 percent of all direct investment in Thailand is coming from Japan (based on the 2014 figure approved by the Board of Investment), a total amount which is larger than that of any other country's.

In the field of trade, Japan was Thailand's third largest importer and second largest exporter in 2017.

Japanese exports to Thailand consist mainly of machine/machinery, metal/metal products and automobile parts; on the other hand, Thai exports to Japan consist of natural rubber, machine/machinery, computer/computer parts.

In 2007, Japan and Thailand signed on Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) and it came into effect. JTEPA is expected to enhance trade, investment and cooperation between two countries. The total trade volume between Thailand and Japan as well as Japan's direct investment in Thailand had increased after JTEPA came into force.

Cultural Exchange

There have been many cultural activities between Japan and Thailand in fields such as arts, sports, and exchange of youth. In particular, the Japanese community in Thailand plays a central role at times of important events related to auspicious events involving the Royal Family of Thailand. For example, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's enthronement, which took place in 1996, Kyogen and Thai-Japan joint dance and concerts have been held since 1994. Also, in August 1996, a highly acclaimed Kabuki performance was held in Bangkok with Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Hitachi and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn in attendance. Thai Food Festival has been held every year since 2000 at Yoyogi Park which organized by Royal Thai Embassy in Japan.