It is my pleasure to begin this letter by informing you of my arrival to Brussels on 20th May, being appointed as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the European Union. In fact this is my second tenure here in this city, although it is after a considerable time from my last term, which was from 1983-1985, at the Mission of Japan to the European Communities. I am looking forward to working with you towards further strengthening the relationship between Japan and the European Union.
Shortly after my arrival, the Japan-EU Summit Meeting was held in Brussels on 28th May. It was my great honour at the beginning of my new assignment here to participate in this Summit. It was satisfying to see that the Summit leaders; Prime Minister Kan, President Van Rompuy, and President Barroso, agreed to start the process for the parallel negotiation of two agreements: a binding agreement covering political and global issues; and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) / Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). This year this annual Summit meeting celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Japan and the EU have developed special relations during a long history. We have constructed our cooperation in various fields based on the Japan-EC Joint Declaration of 1991 and the Japan-EU Action Plan of 2001. During my first term here in Brussels in the first half of 1980s, my work and life in Brussels was precious and meaningful for me, even in the middle of occasional trade frictions, which dominated the bilateral relations between us during those years. Since then, the EC became the EU, with an enlarged membership, deepened its integration, and realised the Monetary Union for the single currency. In the field of external and security policy, its presence is now substantial in the international community.
Japan and the EU are the responsible global leaders in the international community. Both are essential partners for each other, working together to tackle issues of global concern, thus contributing to the prosperity and stability of the world. After the coming into force of The Lisbon Treaty, the EU has been engaged even more actively on global issues with the international community. Thus Japan has strongly supported the participation of the representatives of the EU in the sessions and work of the United Nations General Assembly. Japan welcomes the UN resolution adopted to this effect.
At present, the world is facing numerous challenges, as can be seen in the rapid upheaval and movement towards democratization in North Africa and the Middle East. Japan and the EU also share a common interest and concern in the security environment in East Asia. In the middle of such new dynamics emerging in the world, it is quite essential to bring these bilateral relations to a higher stage so that we together can work more closely and proactively to address such issues of global concern. Precisely for this reason, Japan and the EU must succeed in the aforementioned process for parallel negotiations of both agreements in the political and economic fields.
To tackle the damage caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan in March, we have received not only material relief supply, but also strong heartfelt support from the EU. Commissioner Georgieva was the very first dignitary from abroad to visit Japan in the aftermath of the disaster. She kindly gave strong and personal encouragement to those Japanese people affected by the disaster. Such warm support is very heartening and encouraging to the Japanese people. We are very grateful for the assistance provided and solidarity expressed by the EU. Japan is determined to make the utmost effort despite the massive challenge, to create a new, stronger Japan. On the basis of the successful outcomes of the latest Japan-EU Summit, in which both sides agreed to work together to ensure the highest levels of nuclear safety as well as the disaster preparedness and prevention, Japan and the EU should further promote mutual cooperation in order to overcome bitter lessons from the March natural disaster and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
I will do my utmost to enhance and elevate Japan-EU relations. It is my strong wish to work closely with all of you towards this common goal.
Ambassador of Japan
to the European Union