November 16


18th Japan-EU Conference

Standards, Governance and the Rule of Law - Opportunities for EU-Japan Cooperation

An event report and some presentations are available. The presentations are listed in the session summaries given below and also in the final agenda for the event. Some tweets about the event can be found at #JPEUConference.

The opening session featured keynote addresses by H.E. Ambassador Keiichi Katakami (Mission of Japan to the EU) and by Prof. Mario Telò (ULB & LUISS). European Commission Director General Lowri Evans (Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) gave the closing keynote address.

The main part of this year's event had four themes:

Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Relief Cooperation and Development Assistance after the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai

This year's UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction agreed the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), as the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. Whilst ensuring continuity with worked under the HFA, the Sendai Framework introduced a number of innovations including a greater focus on disaster risk management rather than disaster management, the definition of seven global targets, as well as an overarching focus on preventing new risk, reducing existing risk and strengthening resilience. With Japan and the EU seeking to deepen their strategic partnership through heightened joint engagement in capacity-building and disaster relief in third countries, this session considered the EU and Japanese strategies for action.

You can access the presentations given by Prof. Takako Ueta, Yves Dussart and by Yoichiro Yamada.

Enhancing the Rule of Law at Sea

During their May Summit, the leaders of the EU and Japan emphasised the importance of ensuring the rule of law of the sea, welcomed their ongoing cooperation on anti-piracy activities, but underlined "the need for all parties to seek peaceful, and cooperative solutions to maritime claims, including through internationally recognized legal dispute settlement mechanisms, and to maintain full freedom of navigation and overflight of the high seas under international law as enshrined in the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea". The Rule of Law at Sea ensures that any claims are assessed based on international law and that individual actors refrain from taking unilateral actions. This session considered the competing territorial claims in the East and South China Seas, will examine the EU Maritime Security Strategy and heard from the Registrar at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

You can access the presentations given by Prof. Tsutomu Kikuchi, Prof. Yurika Ishii and by Prof. Philippe Gautier.

Progress Made on the EPA/FTA and SPA Negotiations

Since 2013, the EU and Japan have been engaged in formal negotiations on a Strategic Partnership Agreement and on a Free Trade / Economic Partnership Agreement. July saw the 11th round of formal FTA/EPA talks. At May's EU-Japan Summit, the leaders of the EU and Japan agreed to entrust "our negotiators with the mandate to settle the outstanding differences with a view to reaching agreement encompassing all the key issues preferably by the end of 2015". With just 6 weeks to go before their self-imposed target date for an agreement in principle on the FTA/EPA, this session assessed whether the goal was likely to be met and, if not, its implications. The session also analysed the progress made in the parallel SPA negotiations.

Regulatory Cooperation and the Impact on Industry

In March, the European Commission and Japanese Government agreed a common vision towards deepening and enlarging their regulatory cooperation – especially in some key new areas (robotics, construction and medical devices). The goal is to ensure that the public and private sectors will cooperate at an earlier stage in the legislative process, decreasing regulatory discrepancies and formulating common rules necessary for the future. Regulatory Cooperation will be both part of and transcend any FTA/EPA as it covers not only business issues, but also issues such as regulatory cooperation in the field of conflict minerals. Regulatory cooperation can have a wide range of implications considering both the chosen format – e.g. reciprocal mutual recognition vs. joint regulation – and the economic sectors affected. More than in any other chapter of the negotiations, regulatory cooperation involves all stakeholders from the official regulatory agencies to the individual sectoral economic interests. Understanding this multiplicity of actors and the contrasting impact different forms of regulatory harmonisation might have are therefore key to any future regulatory cooperation between the EU and Japan. This session assessed the rise of Mega-FTAs, heard the views of industry from Europe on the prospects for EU-Japan regulatory cooperation and heard from one of the key contributors to the FTA/EPA Trade and Sustainability Impact Assessment which is being prepared for the European Commission.

You can access the presentation given by Prof. Yorizumi Watanabe.

Information on earlier Japan-EU Conferences can be found at:

17th Japan-EU Conference (17 November 2014)
16th Japan-EU Conference (25 November 2013)
15th Japan-EU Conference (26 November 2012)
14th Japan-EU Conference (28 November 2011)

EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation   European Institute for Asian Studies   Université Libre de Bruxelles
Waseda University    ICU   KU Leuven
Brussels, Belgium
Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations, International Christian University (ICU), Tokyo, Japan
The late Professor Dr. Eric Remacle, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Professor Dr. Takako Ueta at the International Christian University in Japan started the joint Japan-EU Conference in Brus...
Deputy Chief of Mission / Minister, Embassy of Japan to Belgium
Embassy of Japan to Belgium
Professor, Aoyama-GakuinUniversity & Adjunct Senior Fellow, Japan Institute of International Affairs(JIIA)
Professor, Faculty of Policy Management Keio University, Japan
Following several appointments in Japan's foreign service, specializing in international trade policy issues, Professor Watanabe has now brought those skills and experience to the senior academic post...

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