Ambassador's Blog




Conference of Japanese Ambassadors to European Countries



17 February 2011


On 1 and 2 February I attended the annual conference of Japanese Ambassadors to European countries, held in Tokyo.

There we reaffirmed the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordinating our policies with Europe in order to pursue effective measures regarding the key issues for Japanese diplomacy, including security in East Asia, the global economy, climate change and the fight against terrorism. Furthermore, in the field of economic diplomacy, we underscored the need to boost our efforts aimed at reaching agreement on starting negotiations on a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) at this year's Japan-EU summit, which is expected to take place in late May.


Promoting EPAs is a major pillar of Prime Minister Kan's 'New Growth Strategy', and commencing negotiations on an EPA with the EU, Japan's largest trading partner outside the Asia-Pacific region and its second largest investment destination, is an item of importance and urgency on the Japanese Government's policy agenda. Prime Minister Kan personally instructed us the Ambassadors to do our best in this regard as a matter of top priority.

More than 1,200 Japanese companies operate in the UK, having created employment for roughly 120,000 people. When a Japan-EU EPA is concluded and Japanese companies based in Europe step up their investment, the UK economy can be expected to benefit greatly. As for finance, in January the EU launched a €5 billion European Financial Stability Facility aimed at raising funds to support Ireland, more than 20 per cent of which was taken up by Japan. This development demonstrates Japan's resolve to contribute to financial stability in Europe.