Japan-Norway Relations

May 9, 2018

Basic Data

Diplomatic Relations:

Established November 1905

Japanese Nationals:

1,123 (as of October, 2016)

Norwegian Nationals in Japan:

424 (as of December, 2016)

Trade with Japan (in Japanese Yen):

Export to Japan: 191 billion (2016: fish, petroleum products, nonferrous metals).
Import from Japan: 107 billion. (2016: road vehicles, iron and steel etc.)

Visitors between Japan and Norway

From Japan to Norway: 19,171 (2016)
From Japan to Norway: 61,924 (2014)

Bilateral relations

Norway and Japan established diplomatic relations in 1905. Interaction within economy and trade, in fields such as seafood, shipbuilding and petroleum, has been central in the bilateral relations between Norway and Japan over the past few years. Lately, cooperation to create peace and stability in the international society, amongst others the peacebuilding efforts in Sri Lanka, has been strengthened. Our two countries have also established cooperation agreements within the field of research and technology, and in 2012 a mutual agreement on “Working Holiday” visa was reached, giving citizens aged 18-30 the opportunity to enjoy extended stays through a combination of vacation and work.

During the new millennium, there has been a number of Norwegian high-level visits to Japan: HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja (2001), PM Bondevik (2003), HRH Crown Prince Haakon, (2005), PM Stoltenberg (2012), the President of the Parliament (Stortinget) Mr. Thommessen (2016) and FM Brende (2016). HM King Harald V has paid visits to Japan 6 times, including unofficial visits, most notably when he as the Crown Prince of Norway participated in the sailing competition during the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics.

From the Japanese side, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress paid a state visit to Norway in May 2005 to mark the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Norway and Japan. In December 2008 FM Nakasone was in Oslo, signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).

In 2017, PM Abe and PM Solberg had a bilateral meeting on the occasion of Hamburg G20 Summit and discussed a broad range of issues such as the rule of law at sea and Arctic policies.

In February 2018, PM Abe had a summit meeting with PM Solberg who visited Japan and they shared the view that they would continue to promote the cooperation in the areas such as woman’s empowerment, academic exchange, science and technology and innovation. Both leaders also shared the view that both countries will continue to work together closely for the international agenda including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Political Relations

Norway and Japan share fundamental values such as democracy, human rights, rule of law, and market economy. The two countries stand by side in several processes on the international arena, including in the United Nations, in cooperation for peace, stability and the environment.

Economic Relations

Since 1999, with the exception of 2006, there has been a Japanese import surplus in Norway-Japan bilateral trade. Japanese exports to Norway consist primarily of motorized vehicles (2016: approximately 43%), and iron and steel products (app. 14%). Japanese imports of Norwegian produce consist chiefly of fish and processed fish products (2016: app. 44%), in addition to petroleum products (app. 20%), and non-ferrous metals (app. 8 %).

Cultural Relations

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2005, several cultural events were arranged in both countries. Among the more striking happenings was the installation of an ice sculpture copy of the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) at the annual Sapporo Snow Festival in February.

Japanese culture has drawn increased interest and attention over the last few decades. The number of students of the Japanese language at Norwegian higher education institutions has increased from a mere handful during the late 1990s to well over 300 in 2014. Norwegian youth has an increasing interest in, and knowledge of, Japan, especially Japanese pop culture. A rising number are reading Japanese literature and manga, watching anime, and even participating at cosplay events.

Renowned Norwegian artists such as Edvard Munch, Edvard Grieg and Henrik Ibsen are well known in Japan. The 2006 Ibsen Year was marked with staging of plays in Japan, and the same goes for the 2007 Grieg Year, and Edvard Munch’s 150th anniversary in 2013.

VIP Visits

From Japan to Norway
Year Name
April 2003His Imperial Highness Prince Tomohito and Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko
April 2004Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yoshiyuki Kamei
May 2005Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress
May 2006Minister of Justice Seiken Sugiura
December 2008Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone
May 2010Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama
May 2012Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Defense Hideo Jinpu
September 2013Senior Vice Minister of the Environment Shinji Inoue
May 2014Minister for Reconstruction Takumi Nemoto
July 2014Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takao Makino
July 2014Senior Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Hiroshi Okada
August 2014Senior Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Yasutoshi Nishimura
August 2014State Minister of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Midori Matsushima
October 2016State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kentaro Sonoura
Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshinao Nakagawa
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Katsuo Yakura
May 2018Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ken Saito
From Norway to Japan
Year Name
February 2000Minister of Fisheries Lars Peder Brekk
May 2000President of the Storting (Parliament) Kirsti Kolle Grøndahl
March 2001Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway
Minister of Foreign Affairs Torbjørn Jagland
Minister of Industry and Trade Grete Knudsen
Minister of Fisheries Otto Gregussen
December 2001Minister of Children and Family Affairs Laila Dåvøy
January 2002Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Petersen
September 2002Minister of Petroleum and Energy Einar Steensnæs
November 2002Minister of the Environment Børge Brende
March 2003Minister of International Development Hilde Frafjord Johnson
Minister of Petroleum and Energy Einar Steensnæs
May 2003Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik
Minister of Children and Family Affairs Laila Dåvøy
Minister of Fisheries Svein Ludvigsen
Minister of Industry and Trade Ansgar Gabrielsen
May 2004Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Petersen
February 2005President of the Storting (Parliament) Jørgen Kosmo
April 2005His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon
Minister of Industry and Trade Børge Brende
May 2005Minister of Industry and Trade Børge Brende
Minister of Education and Research Kristin Clemet
June 2005Minister of Children and Family Affairs Laila Dåvøy
Minister of Fisheries Svein Ludvigsen
November 2005Minister of Justice Knut Storberget
May 2006Minister of International Development Erik Solheim
September 2006Minister of Children and Equality Karita Bekkemellem
October 2007Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre
January 2009Minister of Health and Care Services Bjarne Håkon Hansen
October 2010Minister of Environment and Development Erik Solheim
February 2011Minister of Education and Research Tora Aasland
May 2012Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske
October 2012Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås
November 2012Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen
November 2015Minister of Fisheries Elisabeth Asparker
March 2016President of the Storting (Parliament) Olemic Thommessen
October 2016Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende
November 2016Minister of Justice and Public Security Anders Anundsen
January 2017Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland
June 2017Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg
February 2018Prime Minister Erna Solberg
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