Japan-Portugal Relations

September 28, 2021

Basic Data

Diplomatic Relations:

The first contact between Japan and Portugal occurred in 1543 when three Portuguese merchants landed on Tanegashima Island at the southern tip of the Japanese Archipelago after their boat was blown off course. Since then until Japan adopted its policy of seclusion in 1639, the Portuguese brought various examples, both physical and abstract, of European culture and civilization to Japan. In the late 16th century, Portugal also became the first European country to receive official Japanese emissaries.

Except for a short period of time following the Second World War, Japan and Portugal have enjoyed good relations. In 1993, both countries organized and held a variety of events to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the Portuguese arrival in Japan. In the same year, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Takamado made an official visit to Portugal, and the then President Mario Soares visited Japan as a state guest. In 1998, the Lisbon World Exposition was held from May 22 to September 30 under the theme "The Oceans: a Heritage for the Future", and the Japanese government opened a Japanese pavilion at the exposition. From May 23 to 25, Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress made their first visit to Portugal during their trip to Europe. In 2010, Japan and Portugal celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the Treaty of Peace, Amity and Commerce. And in 2013, in the occasion of the 470th anniversary of the initial contact between Japan and Portugal, both countries held various events to celebrate and strengthen their friendship.

Japanese Nationals in Portugal:

  • 689 (2020) (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)

Portuguese Nationals in Japan:

  • 407 (2020) (Source: Ministry of Justice of Japan)

Economic Relations

In 2019, exports from Japan to Portugal totaled €59.9 billion , and imports from Portugal to Japan totaled €80.3 billion.

The main export items from Japan to Portugal are automobiles and auto parts, machinery, electrical equipment, rubber manufactures, precision instruments, processed oils, fats and waxes, nonferrous metals, manufactures of metal, textile yarn, fabrics, organic chemicals, and plastic materials.

The main import items from Portugal to Japan are clothing and accessories, electrical equipment, vegetables, footwear, automobiles and auto parts, textile yarn, fabrics, fish, wood, lumber and cork, wine, machinery, and chemicals. (Source: Trade Statistics of the Ministry of Finance of Japan)

In 2018, Japanese direct investment into Portugal totaled 200 million yen (flow), and 480 million yen (balance). (Source: Statistics of the Bank of Japan)

In 2019, 32,349 people visited Portugal from Japan, an increase of 22% from the prior year. In 2019, 144,355 people visited Japan from Portugal, an increase of 22% from the prior year. (Source: Japan National Tourism Organization)

VIP Visits (since 2000)

From Japan to Portugal
Year Name
2001 President of the House of Councillors Inoue Yutaka
2002 Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanaka Makiko
2003 Speaker of the House of Representatives Watanuki Tamisuke
2004 His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince
2006 Minister of State Chuma Koki
Special EnvoyYamaguchi Taimei
2007 Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Kitagawa Issei
Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Matsuyama Masaji
2009 Former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro
2010 Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Banno Yutaka
2014 Prime Minister Abe Shinzo
Minister of State Inada Tomomi
2015 Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Matsumoto Yohei
2017 Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takizawa Motome
2019 Minister of State Hirai Takuya
2020 Minister for Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu
2021 Minister for the World Expo 2025 and Minister for Special Missions Inoue Shinji
From Portugal to Japan
Year Name
2000 Minister of Labour and Solidarity Eduardo Luiz Barreto Ferro Rodrigues
2002 Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Luís Filipe Marques Amado
2003 Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Lourenço dos Santos
2004 Minister of Foreign Affairs Teresa Patrício Gouveia
2005 President Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio
2006 Minister of Economy and Innovation Manuel António Gomes de Almeida de Pinho
2007 Minister of Foreign Affairs Luís Filipe Marques Amado
2008 President of the Assembly of the Republic Jaime José Matos da Gama
2011 Minister of Finance Fernando Teixeira dos Santos
2012 Minister of Finance Vítor Louçã Rabaça Gaspar
Governor at Banco de Portugal Carlos da Silva Costa
2013 Minister of Foreign Affairs Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas
2014 Minister of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning Maria de Assunção Oliveira Cristas Machado da Graça
2015 Secretary of State of Food and Agri-food Research Alexandre Nuno Vaz Baptista de Vieira e Brito
Minister of Internal Administration Anabela Maria Pinto de Miranda Rodrigues
Prime Minister Pedro Manuel Mamede Passos Coelho
Minister of Foreign Affairs Rui Manuel Parente Chancerelle de Machete
Minister of Economy António Pires de Lima
Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy Jorge Manuel Lopes Moreira da Silva
2016 Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Manuel Dias de Jesus Marques
Secretary of State of Internationalization Jorge Costa Oliveira
2017 Secretary of State of Internationalization Jorge Costa Oliveira (50th ADB Annual Meeting)
2018 Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Manuel Dias de Jesus Marques
Secretary of State of Internationalization Eurico Jorge Nogueira Leite Brilhante Dias
2019 Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Teresa Ribeiro
Ex-Presidente Cavaco Silva (Ceremony of Enthronement)
2020 Secretary of State for Internationalization Eurico Brilhante Dias
Secretary of State for Energy Joao Galamba

Cultural Exchanges

Eight sister-city agreements have been reached between Japanese and Portuguese cities, including one International Friendship City.

Leiria - Tokushima, Porto - Nagasaki, Aveiro - Oita, Cascais - Atami, Vila do Bispo - Nishinoomote, Sintra - Omura, Nazaré - Zushi (International Friendship City), Abrantes - Hitoyoshi

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