The Belgium-Japan Association was founded and officialised in 1963, just after the return to Belgium of a Princely Economic Mission to the Far East. At the time, the members of the mission noted the strength of the Japanese industry and economy in general. Consequently, they decided to create an association having as its purpose the organization of meetings between Belgians and the Japanese living in Belgium (about 400 at that time). This initiative was supported by HRH Prince Albert of Belgium, who personally attended the inauguration ceremony. Viscount Obert de Thieusies, Honorary Ambassador and Chairman of the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce Abroad, took up the chairmanship of the new association.
In the early nineties, the Belgian-Japan Trade Federation (BEJAT) merged with the Belgium-Japan Association and hence the name became the Belgium-Japan Association & Chamber of Commerce (BJA). The aim of the new association was not only to develop cultural and social events, but also to focus on the promotion of commercial, industrial, and financial relations between Belgium and Japan.
On 15 July 2008 in Tokyo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan had awarded the BJA a commendation for the outstanding role the association plays in fostering the relations between the two nations. Then in 2013, His Majesty King Albert II of Belgium bestowed upon the BJA the Royal title.
The association at present counts over 650 members, including Belgian, Japanese and multinational companies as well as numerous individuals residing in Belgium. It has grown into a very dynamic organization, publishing surveys, reports and newsletters, lobbying to improve the Belgium-Japan economic and legal framework, and supporting many other organizations, including the EU-Japan Centre. The BJA also offers a wealth of activities, including events focused on EU-Japan relations, thanks to its dynamic EU Committee.
If you would like to know more about the BJA and its activities, please visit the BJA website.
(1) 2019 - Symposium EU-Japan EPA
(2) 2014 - Business Round Table with HE King Philippe
(3) 2008 - Commendation MOFA to BJA
(4) 2006 - Human machine encounter
(5) 2005 - Signature of the Belgium-Japan Social Security Treaty
(6) 2004 - Celebrating Friendship
(7) 1999 - BJA Reception for the Japanese Imperial Family