Japan-Czech Republic Relations

Japan-Czech Republic Relations (Overview)

July 31, 2017

Historical overview of bilateral relations

  1. Japan and then-Czechoslovakia established diplomatic relations when the latter gained its independence with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Overcoming a lengthy period of diplomatic relations suspension since 1939, Japan resumed its ties with Czechoslovakia in 1957.
    When the Czech Republic declared independence in 1993, Japan was among the first countries to welcome the new state by giving it diplomatic recognition.
  2. Traditionally Japan and the Czech Republic (including the Czechoslovakia era) had enjoyed good relations with no significant pending issues between them, though the differences in political and economic systems kept their relations to a limited extent until the wave of democratization swept over Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. Recently, relations have become much closer in a variety of fields, including political, economic, and cultural areas.

Number of Residents

  • Number of Japanese Nationals residing in Czech: 1,960 (Oct. 2016)
  • Number of Czech Nationals residing in Japan: 586 (Dec. 2016)

Economic Relations

Economic relations between Japan and the Czech Republic are developing steadily with the rapid growth of large-scale direct investment from Japan in the Czech Republic.

1. Trade between Japan and the Czech Republic (2016)
From Japan to the Czech Republic: 134.1 billion JPY (mainly electrical machinery)
From the Czech Republic to Japan: 82.0 billion JPY (mainly mechanical component)
2. Investment
The Direct Investment from Japan to the Czech Republic (cumulative amount as of May 2017): 3.787 billion USD (mainly to production of automobiles and TV apparatuses)
Japanese-affiliated companies in the Czech Republic (number as of May 2017): 254

Economic Cooperation

In order to help the Czech Republic smooth the way toward democratization and a market economy, Japan provided technical cooperation and dispatching experts in corporate management, environment and so on. Japan’s assistance to the Czech Republic completed in 2003.

  • Total Amount of ODA up to 2003
  • Loans: None
  • Grants: 382 million yen
  • Technical Assistance: 712 million yen

Cultural Exchanges

Cultural exchanges between the two countries, particularly from 1989, have become more active at both the government and private-sector levels. Besides inviting students, media people, teachers, diplomats, and others to Japan, Japan has also been organizing cultural events, such as concerts, exhibitions, and demonstrations, to promote cultural understanding between the Czech and Japanese peoples. In addition, various private groups have been organizing cultural events. Both countries have their own respective friendship societies that are active in promoting goodwill and friendship between the Japanese and Czech peoples. Recently, Japanese pop culture is becoming more popular besides the traditional culture such as the way of tea and Ikebana.

Exchanges have been deepening also at a regional level. Takasaki and Pilsen (1990), Kusatsu and Karlovy Vary (1992), and Kyoto and Prague (1996) have formed sister city relationships. The 20th anniversaries of relationships were celebrated between Takasaki and Pilsen in 2010, between Kyoto and Prague in 2016, and the 25th anniversary was celebrated between Kusatsu and Karlovy Vary in 2017.
In 2017, both countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. As one of the main events of this anniversary, the exhibition of Alfons Mucha was held in Tokyo where all 20 works of the Slav Epic series, a Mucha’s masterpiece, were displayed for the first time outside of the Czech Republic.

VIP Visits

From Japan to the Czech Republic
Year Name
1996 Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako
1997 Minister for Foreign Affairs Yukihiko Ikeda
President of the House of Councilors Juro Saito
2000 Minister of Finance Kiichi Miyazawa
2001 Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Atsuko Toyama
Minister for Foreign Affairs Makiko Tanaka
2002 Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress
2003 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
2005 Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Shoichi Nakagawa
2008 Vice-Speaker of the House of Representative Takahiro Yokomichi
2009 Prime Minister Taro Aso
2014 Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Yoshitaka Shindo
2016 Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives Tatsuo Kawabata
2017 Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
Vice-President of the House of Councillors Akira Gunji
From the Czech Republic and Japan
Year Name
1996 Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
1997 President of the Senate Petr Pithart
1999 Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Kavan
2002 Minister of Finance Jiri Rusnok
2005 Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek
2007 President Vaclav Klaus (accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzeberg)
2008 President Vaclav Klaus
2009 President of the Senate Premysl Sobotka
2010 Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Miroslava Kopicova
2011 Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg
2014 Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mladek
2015 Minister of Environment Richard Vrabec
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Jan Hamacek
Minister of Defense Martin Stropnicky
2017 Minister of Culture Daniel Herman
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (accompanied by Minister of Industry and Trade Jiri Havlicek and Minister of Culture Daniel Herman)