16th Japan-EU conference, 25 November 2013, Brussels

japanOn Monday the 25th of November the 16th edition of the Japan-EU conference took place in Brussels, jointly organised by TEPSA, KU Leuven, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Waseda University, International Christian University Japan (ICU) and by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Japan and the EU – Living together in a Multipolar World“. It addressed and defined on-going challenges for Japan and the European Union.

Coming a week after the EU-Japan Summit meeting, the main morning sessions of this year’s Japan-EU Conference was devoted to recent developments in EU-Japan relations. The Japanese Ambassador to the EU and the Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service debated EU-Japan political relations. Representatives of the European Commission’s DG TRADE and the Japanese Mission to the EU outlined the latest developments in EU-Japan economic relations – with reference to the on-going FTA/EPA negotiations. The afternoon sessions addressed civil protection and humanitarian issues, with speeches from senior policy-makers, researchers and others. Over 2½ years on from the Great East Japan Earthquake, the session on civil protection and disaster relief will allow an exchange of views as to how the EU and Japan address these issues at home as well as Japan–EU cooperation in multilateral efforts. The final session addressed human security, humanitarian & development assistance and considered disaster reduction – an important part of Japan’s development assistance policy – and ‘human security’. Although the EU and Japan are the world’s second and third largest donors of official humanitarian assistance, a better coordination in the EU-Japan framework is needed.

This annual event provided a unique opportunity to debate both the latest research as well as current policy trends. It brought together academics, experts and policymakers from various parts of the world and proved to be a highly valuable forum to formulate ideas and specific suggestions to fortify the Japan-EU relationship.

For the main conference webpage go to: http://www.eu-japan.eu/16th-japan-eu-conference. For the latest agenda go to: http://www.eu-japan.eu/sites/eu-japan.eu/files/16thJapanEUConference.pdf