2014 EU-Japan Summit
On 7 May, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, attended the 22nd summit between the European Union and Japan in Brussels.
EU and Japan leaders discussed their economic and political partnership, neighbourhood policy, the crisis in Ukraine, strengthened security coopeartion and key global challenges.
Mr Van Rompuy, Mr Barroso, and Prime Minister Abe look forward to meeting each other again in June at the G7 summit to be held in Brussels.
EU-Japan Summit - Press conference
Economic and political relations
Leaders confirmed their commitment to conclude a Strategic Partnership Agreement enabling deeper political cooperation. Negotiations should be concluded as soon as possible on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
They welcome progress made on free-trade discussions despite some outstanding issues relating to market access and non-tariff measures. The Commission will send the Council a progress report on the first year of negotiations in May. These talks on a Free Trade Agreement between two major players in the world economy are likely to be some of the most important trade negotiations in the years to come.
EU and Japan economies together account for close to 27% of global GDP. Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia, and the EU is Japan's third most important trade partner. While Japan is a major investor in the EU, EU Foreign direct investments are still low in Japan. In March 2013, the EU and Japan decided to launch negotiations for a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement.
Once in effect, this trade agreement could boost Europe's economy by 0.6% to 0.8% of its GDP; EU exports to Japan could increase by 32.7%. As a result of the agreement, 420,000 jobs could be created in the EU alone.
Regional issues, such as recent developments in the EU's and Japan's respective neighbourhoods were also discussed.
The deteriorating situation in Ukraine was high on the agenda. The EU and Japan reiterated their support for the Ukrainian people and their right to choose their own future. The EU and Japan are pursuing the same objectives of stabilising the government in Kiev and ensuring that a free and fair presidential election can be held in Ukraine on 25 May.
The situation in East Asia is also a source of concern. Free and safe navigation and overflight of the high seas needs to be ensured.
In Ukraine and East Asia peaceful solutions need to be found through active diplomatic engagement in accordance with principles of international law.
A strengthened security partnership
President Van Rompuy said: "The EU welcomes Japan's readiness to build up an enhanced security partnership with the EU as part of Japan's overall policy to contribute more actively to global peace and security."
EU-Japan relations are moving towards practical crisis management cooperation, including in several African countries. The partners agreed to carry out a joint counter piracy exercise involving Japanese naval assets and EUNAVFOR Atalanta in the Western Indian Ocean.
International climate change negotiations, where ambitious and timely contributions are required, as well as the global economic situation and G20 cooperation were discussed.
Mr Barroso stressed the urgency of acting on climate change, and the EU and Japan recognised that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emission by all parties must be made.
The EU and Japan will also work together to create an open, safe and secure cyberspace, and have launched an EU-Japan Cyber Dialogue.