Japan-Greece Relations

August 7, 2018

Diplomatic Relations

Established in June 1899 with the signing of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation.

Bilateral agreements

  • Agreement for abolishing visa (1956)
  • Agreement on Air Services (1973)
  • Cultural Agreement (1981)
  • Number of Residents
  • Number of Japanese nationals residing in Greece: 653 (Oct. 2017)
  • Number of Greek nationals residing in Japan: 293 (Dec. 2017)

VIP Visits

Visit to Greece (2000-)
Year Name
2000 Speaker of the House of Representatives Tamisuke Watanuki
2001 Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori
2002 President of the House of Councillors Hiroyuki Kurata
2003 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
2004 Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Science Takeo Kawamura
HIH The Prince&Princess Hitachi
2006 Speaker of House of the Representatives Yohei Kono
Parliamentary Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs Akiko Yamanaka
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Science Kenji Kosaka
2012 State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ryuji Yamane
2014 Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives Hirotaka Akamatsu
2017 State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi
2017 President of the House of Councillors Chuichi Date
2018 State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Nakane
Visit to Japan (2000-)
Year Name
2002 Prime Minister Kostas Simitis (Official guest)
2004 Minister of Agricultural Development and Provisions Evangelos Basiakos
2005 Minister of Economy and Finance Georgios Alogoskoufis
President of the Hellenic Parliament Anna Benaki
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis (Official working visit guest)
2007 Minister of Transport and Communication Michalis Liapis
2013 Minister of Tourism Olga Kefaloyanni
2014 Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Panagiotis Michalos
Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Andreas Loverdos

Economic Relations

Total trade volume between Japan and Greece has been in a decreasing trend since the economic crisis in Greece while there has been a slight increase in the exports from Greece to Japan. Greece ranks one of the lowest among the 28 EU countries as investment location for Japanese corporations, both in terms of total investment amount and the number of investment cases.

As for tourism, the number of Japanese tourists visiting Greece by year is in the range of 8,800-19,000 during the past 5 years, while Greece recorded its highest number of foreign tourists in its history in 2017.

There have been constantly trade surplus of Japan except for 2013, when Japan’s exports to Greece sharply decreased. However, Japan’s export to Greece has increased again in the last two years and Greece’s export to Japan also demonstrates an increasing trend. About 20 Japanese corporations, including subsidiaries, trading companies and ship-related companies, etc. have expanded their business operations into Greece. On the other hand, several Greek corporations such as sales industry and trade consultancy are also doing business in Japan.

Trade with Japan (2017)

  • Imports from Japan: 27.02 billion yen
  • Exports to Japan: 10.83 billion yen

List of Main items (2017)

  • Japan to Greece: machinery, transport equipment, electric machinery, chemical products, steel, etc.
  • Greece to Japan: pharmaceutical products, cotton, tobacco, petroleum products, non-ferrous metal, etc.

(Source: Trade Statistics of the Ministry of Finance of Japan)

Cultural Exchanges

Japan and Greece have traditionally been on friendly terms - except for the temporary interruption during the Second World War- ever since the "Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation" was concluded in June 1899.

The strong foundations of the Greek-Japanese cultural relations were laid in 1981, with the conclusion of the "Cultural Agreement between Japan and Greece". Both countries are proud of their long history, tradition and rich cultural heritage.

On the occasion of the Celebration of 100 years of Greek-Japanese friendly relations, many cultural events were organized in Greece by the Centennial Committee, in cooperation with the Greek Government, numerous organizations and volunteers, that helped the Greek people better understand a part of the Japanese civilization.

In March, 2002, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Greek Prime MinisterK. Simitis, during his official visit to Japan, announced the Japan-Greece Joint Action Plan, which proposed holding “Greek Months” in Japan and “Japanese Months” in Greece in the run up to the year of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. During that year, many Japanese traditional and modern cultural events were organized in Athens.

In 2009, on the occasion of the Celebration of 110 years of Greek-Japanese friendly relations, various events such as "Japan Week" with Japanese cultural activities were held.

In view of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of sports in July 2017. Inasawa City of Aichi Prefecture and Misato City of Saitama Prefecture have been registered as Host Towns for Greece.

There is no higher educational institution in Greece which provides Japanese Studies. However, about 12 Japanese learning institutions exist within Greece. In addition, the Japanese Government accepts about 4 to 6 students every year by scholarship of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology with government expense.

There are 8 sister city relationships and 1 sister street relationship between Japan and Greece.

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