Message from the Ambassador of Japan to the European Union
9th June 2021
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of Japan to the European Union
It has been more than half a year since I arrived in Brussels last October. Meanwhile, the international situation surrounding Japan and the EU has changed considerably. As a result of the efforts of everyone, I feel that some hope is within sight in our long-standing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding Japan-EU relations, in January of this year, Foreign Minister Motegi participated in the EU Foreign Affairs Council and the Japan-EU EPA Joint Committee was held in February. Following these events, the European Council announced the "EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific" in April. We can see that the deepening of our cooperation and its results are steadily being achieved. In 2021, the United Kingdom has been holding the G7 Presidency and is also the host country of the Climate Change COP26 Conference while Italy is the holder of the G20 Presidency. We can say that 2021 has so far been a year set in Europe and that EU-Japan cooperation has also been a key to the success of these events.
At the end of May this year, the EU-Japan summit meeting was held in virtual format for the first time since the inauguration of the Suga Administration. The three leaders, Prime Minister Suga, President of the European Council Michel, and President of the European Commission Von der Leyen, met together for the first time. The leaders discussed strengthening partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, combating COVID-19 pandemic as well as issues in the field of digital transition and the launch of the Japan-EU Green alliance.
I think three leaders were able to exchange opinions frankly on a wide range of issues. Just after the Japan-EU summit, Japan co-hosted the COVAX Vaccine Summit where Japan announced its contribution of an additional $ 800 million to the $ 200 million previously announced. EU Commission President Von der Leyen also participated at the COVAX summit and Japan-EU cooperation on vaccines also shows progress.
It is worth noting that the concept of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" has reached Europe and is shared by the EU and its member states, further expanding Japan-EU relations. The FOIP concept contributes to the peace and stability of the entire world. The aforementioned "EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific" by the European Council also addresses the rules-based international order, the need to tackle climate change, and promote connectivity as well as ensure secure free and open maritime supply routes that are in full compliance with international law. It describes the same position as that of the Japanese FOIP.
In the field of climate change, Japan-EU cooperation has made great progress. The biggest milestone so far has been the recent launch of the Green Alliance and I sincerely welcome this development. Japan and the EU should continue to jointly address and tackle the issue of climate change as a matter of global concern. From now on, Japan and the EU will strengthen their cooperation on energy transition, environmental protection, regulatory and business cooperation, research and development, sustainable finance, facilitating the green transition with third countries, and also on ensuring the global integrity and stability of climate action. We aim to realize climate-neutral, biodiversity-friendly, resource-recycling economies in order to achieve green growth and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050.
It is necessary to further expand the cooperation between Japan and the EU, based on our shared values and we will continue to make the best possible efforts to that end.