Opening Address by Ambassador Shiojiri
at the 14th Japan-EU Conference.
“Facing New Avenues of Japan-EU Cooperation in a Changing Context”
Brussels 28 November, 2011
Ambassador Shiojiri (left)
Let me begin with a word of congratulations to the 14th Japan-EU Conference.
I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to those who have prepared and realised this Conference.
The title of this year’s conference is “Facing New Avenues of Japan-EU Cooperation in a Changing Context”. The Conference programme could not be more relevant given current Japan-EU relations. Each of the areas covered in this Conference, from trade and investment to disaster prevention and relief cooperation are indeed timely and the results of today’s discussions will be of great benefit in further enhancing our relationship.
This year’s conference is special for us.
Special: for in Japan eight and half months ago, on the 11th of March, we had devastating disasters. The EU’s actions and support extended toward Japan were of great comfort and encouragement to the Japanese people. I’d like to reiterate our gratitude to Europe and the European people. We are still struggling but at the same time we are moving forward steadily. Fukushima/Tohoku will not end up as a tragedy story. We will make Fukushima/Tohoku a very successful story.
And this year’s conference is special. Special: for Europe, the EU is facing big financial challenges. We see the EU dedicating its efforts to solve these problems. We support the EU’s determination to take all necessary measures and actions to ensure the stability of the euro zone. In fact, Japan has been supporting the EU as a main investor in the EFSF and will continue to stand together with Europe. And I am convinced that the EU, by overcoming the difficulties, will be more robust and more resilient.
In May this year, at the Japan-EU summit, we agreed to initiate the process of parallel negotiation on agreements in both the political and economic field. And we are currently undertaking scoping exercises for these agreements. I am persuaded that both political and economic agreements between Japan and the EU are crucially important not only to Japan and the EU respectively, but also important to the world. Japan and the EU are global partners who bear responsibility and share the same fundamental belief in principles such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law and others. It is very much needed to conclude an agreement covering global and political cooperation worthy of global responsible partners. And by concluding the economic agreement, what we want to realise is to make our societies more innovative, more competitive and more sustainable and to establish a model for the international economy.
I arrived in Brussels 6 months ago. This is my second stay in Brussels. I was first posted to the Mission of Japan to the European Communities thirty years ago. Comparing now to thirty years ago, there is little doubt that our relationship has strengthened. Nevertheless we would say that our relationship has not yet fully evolved in light of the gravity and standing of Japan and the EU in the world. Japan and the EU should reinforce our relationship to a greater extent with a fresh and ambitious perspective and a strong commitment.
I hope the 14th Japan-EU Conference will provide us a fresh and constructive perspective for our relationship. The EU President Van Rompuy attended at the last year’s Conference. He is a master of Haiku (Japanese poem). Let me conclude my remarks by reading my own haiku.
In the dark sea
Moving forward with determination
And with a ray of hope
More information on this conference is available at its official site: