Japan-Spain Relations

Japan-Spain Relations (Basic Data)

December 6, 2018

Basic Data

Diplomatic Relations

Established in 1868 with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation.

Contact between Japan and Spain began when a Jesuit missionary, Francisco Xavier, arrived in Japan in 1549. Since then until Japan adopted the policy of seclusion, many missionaries from Spain sailed to Japan and introduced Western civilization to Japan. Thanks to the Spanish galleons, Japan was also able to begin trading with the Philippines, Mexico, and other countries. In 1584, the Tensho mission of Japanese youths dispatched from Japan stopped in Spain and had an audience with Philip II before proceeding on to Rome.

In 1868 Japan and Spain concluded a bilateral treaty on friendship, commerce, and navigation. During World War II, Spain maintained a policy of neutrality, but diplomatic relations between the two countries were temporarily severed due to the incident involving the murder of a Spanish missionary in Manila in 1945. Since the restoration of diplomatic relations in 1952, both countries have enjoyed good relations.

Japanese Nationals in Spain

8,192 (October 2017)

Trade with Japan

  • Export: 375.6 billion yen (2017) (Chemical products, Medical supplies, Machinery and transportation equipment)
  • Import: 329.6 billion yen (2017) (Transportation equipment, Machinery)

Direct Investment from Japan

Balance of direct investment as of 2017: 342.7 billion yen

VIP Visits

From Japan to Spain
Year Name
2004 HIH The Crown Prince
2007 Minister for Finance Omi
Foreign Minister Aso
2008 Minister for Finance Nukaga
HIH The Crown Prince
2013 HIH The Crown Prince
2014 Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida
Prime Minister Abe
Minister for Reconstruction Nemoto
2017 President of the House of Councillors Date
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takisawa
2018 State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakane
Prime Minister Abe
From Spain to Japan
Year Name
2005 Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Moratinos
Prince of Asturias Felipe of Borbón
2006 Minister for Education and Science Cabrera
2007 Minister for Industry, Tourism and Trade Cross
2008 Their Majesties the King and Queen
Minister for Science and Innovation Garmedia
2010 President of the Government Zapatero
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Moratinos
Minister for Industry, Tourism and Trade Sebastian
2011 Minister for Culture Gonzalez-Sinde
2012 Minister for Economic Affairs and Competitiveness De Guindos
2013 Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Garcia-Margallo
President of the Senate Garcia-Escudero
President of the Government Rajoy
2014 President of the Congress Posada
Minister for Defense Morenés
2015 Minister for Economic Affairs and Competitiveness De Guindos
2017 Their Majesties the King Felipe VI and the Queen Letizia
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Dastis
2018 Minister for Defense De Cospedal

Other Exchanges

  • The Japan-Spain Symposium, which is attended by leading intellectuals of both countries, has been held since 1997.
  • In Spain, Japanese language education and Japanese studies have become popular in recent years, and through the cooperation of the governments and the private sectors in Japan and Spain, the Centro Cultural Hispano-Japonés was opened at the University of Salamanca in the spring of 1999. The Spanish government has opened the Cervantes Institute in Tokyo in 2008. The Japan Foundation opened an office in Madrid in 2010 to further promote understanding of Japanese culture in Spain.
  • In relation to tourism, 442,000 Japanese tourists visited Spain in 2017. The number of Spanish visitors to Japan reached a record-high of 100,000 in 2017.
  • Eleven sister-city agreements have been reached between Japanese and Spanish cities.