FILE : Japan – EU Summit.

Statements and details…


Joint statement by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe

25/03/2013 – Recalling the deepening of Japan-EU relations since the 1991 Joint Declaration and the profound transformation taking place worldwide in recent years, the leaders shared the view that Japan and the EU, global partners sharing common values, should lift their relations onto a higher, more strategic plane, and make them more enduring. They committed themselves to step up their common endeavours towards that goal.

The leaders decided to launch negotiations for an agreement covering political, global and sectoral cooperation and an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) / Free Trade Agreement (FTA) based on the shared views on the scope and level of ambition arrived at in the scoping exercises. The leaders welcomed the start of the negotiations in April and expressed their commitment to the earliest possible conclusion of these two agreements. The EPA/ FTA should be deep and comprehensive, addressing all issues of shared interest in order to stimulate economic growth both in Japan and in the EU and to contribute thereby to the development of the world economy. The agreement covering political, global and sectoral cooperation would provide a legal foundation for promoting a stronger partnership in addressing a wide range of bilateral and global issues as part of a shared contribution to global stability, security and sustainable growth.

The Leaders affirmed their continued global engagement in enhancing strong, sustainable and balanced growth and securing the financial stability of the world economy. In this context, the leaders exchanged views on the situation in Cyprus as well as on the broader measures to strengthen the architecture of the Economic and Monetary Union. Prime Minister Abe emphasised his understanding of the importance of the EU’s continued efforts towards the stability of the European Economy, and confirmed that Japan would maintain its support for these efforts. He also outlined the policy measures which his government had taken to revitalize the economy of Japan. Recognising the importance of policy actions on both sides as efforts towards the global recovery, the leaders reaffirmed the need to fulfill all G20 commitments, and looked forward to working together in the G20 to this aim.

The leaders also exchanged views on bilateral cooperation and regional issues, including the security environment of East Asia, the Middle East and the Sahel.

The leaders decided to reschedule the Summit as soon as possible and expressed their expectation that the Summit would give a further political impulse to their cooperation.


Remarks on the launch of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan

As you are no doubt aware, earlier today Prime Minister Abe spoke by telephone to President Van Rompuy and President Barroso to officially launch the negotiations for two landmark agreements for EU-Japan relations: a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement.

I am delighted with today’s launch of negotiations. This has allowed Minister Motegi and myself to discuss in-depth the preparations for the first round of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations due to take place in Brussels in mid-April.

As major economic powers accounting for one third of global output, highly interconnected, and faced with similar challenges, the EU and Japan have a shared responsibility to boost growth, jobs and competiveness. I know the Japanese government share this view with the European Union.

The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement will be an important part of the response to those challenges. It will also be a key complement of the structural reforms that both Europe and Japan are undertaking to bring greater prosperity to both our peoples.

Trade is the best way to generate growth without putting additional pressure on taxpayers. This is why I have embarked on an ambitious trade agenda and why a deal with Japan is central to the success of this overall strategy.

It is now important that both sides stick to the commitments made in the scoping exercise – namely on the continuing dismantling of the non-tariff barriers so we can swiftly and successfully progress in our negotiations.

I am aware that the negotiations will certainly be challenging – but I am convinced that the potential benefits for both Japan and the EU are worth this effort. For example, for Europe – depending on the liberalisation scenario used – the FTA is expected to boost EU GDP by between 0.6% and 0.8%.

So today marks an historic juncture in our relationship; it also marks the day ‘the real work’ begins to strengthen our economic ties for the years to come

Karel De Gucht

European Commissioner for Trade


Challenge and Opportunity

25/03/2013 – First of all allow me to thank you for the kind invitation that was addressed to us by the European Business Council and Keidanren. This initiative is a welcome sign that EU-Japan relations are not limited to the official contacts but are vital at all levels. You have been working tirelessly to bring the EU and Japan closer together and I can only thank you for your dedication and efforts.

And even if the EU-Japan Summit was unfortunately cancelled, I am glad that a telephone call between Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy will take place later today with a view to launching negotiations of a free trade agreement.

And by negotiating a Free Trade Agreement, we would be making the most of the opportunities that both economic blocs have to offer. It is not difficult to see the importance of this relationship in economic terms: the combined value of both markets accounts for more than a third of global economic activity, and there is plenty of economic potential left to unlock.

However, despite the intense working relationship between us, including regulatory dialogue that has been taken place for years already, there are still too many barriers out there – we are faced with discriminatory regulations, differences in standards and limitations in public procurement – that restrict economic cooperation between businesses and further integration within certain sectors.

Only 3% of global European FDI is in Japan. This shows that the EU-Japan trade and investment relationship could be greatly enhanced.

And it should be greatly enhanced. For over the past five years, EU exports of goods to Japan have declined 6.1% on average per year. Japan was the EU’s third most important export destination in 2003, while today, it ranks only seventh. Also Japanese exports to the EU have been declining during the past decade, even if the EU is still the third largest trading partner of Japan, and Japan still has a trade surplus with the EU of 8 billion EUR.

In the area of trade in services, the situation is brighter in the sense that both parties have increased their exports to each other’s markets. In services trade, the EU has a surplus of around 6 billion EUR, so in conclusion, our total trade is rather balanced.

These figures illustrate that negotiating the free trade agreement will not be easy. I have no illusions about it. And getting to a good outcome, that is concluding a deep and comprehensive FTA that will embrace a wide range of issues including services, investment, procurement, intellectual property rights and regulatory issues, cannot be taken for granted either, but will require continuous, full commitment and determination at the highest political level.

Of course, I can only speak from my own, the European perspective, but is seems clear to me that dismantling the persistent non-tariff barriers will be the key for the success of the negotiations.

It was not easy to obtain the negotiating mandate from the Member States, exactly for that reason. There are still those in Europe that believe that Japan will not be able to deliver on the roadmap we jointly agreed as part of the scoping exercise.

I disagree with that. In my view, Japan has demonstrated its commitment by agreeing to the roadmaps on non-tariff barriers. This builds trust between us. And trust is crucial in trade negotiations.

But in order to convince the sceptics, we needed to include the review clause in the mandate: after one year from starting of the negotiations – and that will be around April 2014 – I will take stock on the progress made by Japan in implementing the roadmaps on non-tariff barriers and railway procurement, and if the conclusion would be that the progress has not been satisfactory, the negotiations would be suspended.

I say this because the review clause needs to be taken seriously. We should do our utmost to get over this one-year deadline and be able to continue negotiations without any breakages in the process.

You, the business community that will reap the benefits of the final agreement, have a crucial role to play. First, it is up to you to tell us, the negotiators, what the problems are on the ground that needs to be addressed by the negotiations. And your input has already been very valuable in setting out the roadmaps.

Second, you can help us making progress by explaining to your constituencies the importance of reaching a good outcome of the negotiations, which requires an effort from both sides – an effort which will not be easy – in taking the necessary measures to get there.

So far, we have been right to trust Japan, since the Japanese government has delivered on its commitments so far. This has set a good basis for starting the negotiations in a good and constructive atmosphere. However, this is a continuous process where difficult issues and sectors still need to be tackled, so I am looking forward to your support in this matter.

Some may ask what will be the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement. Is it really worth all the trouble? I can tell you why indeed it is. And it is not only important for our bilateral economic relationship, but I believe it is also crucial for our broader growth strategies, which are similar in nature.

Europe and Japan have both been hit by the global economic crisis. We both are high income economies with high technological know-how. We are facing slow growth, aging, shrinking populations and need to find export markets to find new growth and to ensure that we can offer the same prosperity we currently enjoy also for the generations to come. I believe this is our responsibility.

In search of further growth the EU is engaged in a series of FTA negotiations: In Asia, we have concluded and ambitious FTA with Korea, and are negotiating with India, Vietnam and Malaysia, will soon start with Thailand, and have just concluded with Singapore. We have also concluded FTAs with Peru, Colombia and Central America, and are in the last stretch with our negotiations with Canada. And recently we have also announced starting of negotiations with the United States, our main trading partner, in the near future. Japan is naturally a part of this picture, being one of the largest and most affluent economies in the world.

Japan is pursuing similar strategies, having FTAs with ASEAN, negotiating with Canada, China and Korea trilaterally, and being also involved with Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Negotiations in the Asian region (ASEAN +6). And it has very recently announced its intention to join also the Transpacific Partnership Negotiations. This clearly demonstrates that Japan has also made a fundamental decision to move towards more openness and reform. Just like the EU is currently reforming the very fundamentals of its economic policies as a response to the financial crisis we are facing.

This approach to embrace economic openness and free trade is a very important common element we share with Japan. Since the start of the crisis, we have seen the rise of protectionist measures all over the world, often in a form of industrial policies, but also in terms of simple raising of tariffs or other types of more explicit trade barriers. I believe this is not the right response to the current slowdown of the world economy. This type of measures will only make things worse, as history has demonstrated to us already. Therefore, we can only gain by joining forces with those who share the same vision of having more openness to trade.

The impact assessment we have prepared estimates that an ambitious FTA between the EU and Japan could add 0.8% to our GDP. This is not negligible. But I underline that the word ambitious is the key here. A superficial agreement not tacking the regulatory barriers will not get us there.

Some people have also raised the argument of all these bilateral FTAs undermining the multilateral trading system. Here as well I tend to disagree. Deep and comprehensive FTAs addressing issues going beyond the current WTO rulebook, like investment, procurement, competition etc, will build on the WTO disciplines and underpin the system. I would agree that shallow tariff-only agreements would indeed do the opposite. But that is not what we are doing with Japan: we have jointly agreed to embark to negotiate exactly the type of ambitious and comprehensive FTA that will support and complement the multilateral system.

The European economy was hit particularly hard by the global economic downturn. And yet, as an economic bloc, we will emerge from it stronger, more united and more competitive than we were before.

Our economic fundamentals remain strong. Europe is the largest economy in the world. We have managed to hold our own in the face of strong competition from emerging economies. Europe remains the world’s the largest importer of both manufactured goods and services. And not only do we still have the largest stocks of foreign direct investment abroad, we are also the largest host of foreign direct investment in the world.

If we go further on the road to real economic and monetary unification, as we are doing, there is no reason why our financial-economic fundamentals would not be as strong as ever.

The partnership between Japan and the European Union has been key to the success of both economies.

You can count on our engagement to further enhance the potential of this relationship.

And I know from experience that we can count on your support in doing so

Karel De Gucht

European Commissioner for Trade


A Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan

25/03/2013 – The EU and Japan today officially launched the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The aim is for a comprehensive agreement in goods, services and investment eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and covering other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development.

The first round of negotiations will be held in Brussels from 15 to 19 April 2013.

Japan is the EU’s 7th largest trading partner globally and the EU’s 2nd biggest trading partner in Asia after China. Conversely, the European Union is Japan’s 3rd largest trading partner, after China and the United States. Together the European Union and Japan account for more than one third of world GDP.

An agreement between the two economic giants is expected to boost Europe’s economy by 0.6 to 0.8 % of its GDP and will result in growth and the creation of 400.000 jobs. It is expected that EU exports to Japan could increase by 32.7%, while Japanese exports to the EU would increase by 23.5%

What will the negotiations cover?

The negotiations with Japan will address a number of EU concerns, including non-tariff barriers and the further opening of the Japanese public procurement market. Both sides aim at concluding an agreement covering the progressive and reciprocal liberalisation of trade in goods, services and investment, as well as rules on trade-related issues.

The negotiations will be based on the outcome of a joint scoping exercise, which the EU and Japan completed in May 2012. In the context of this exercise, both parties demonstrated their willingness and capacity to commit to an ambitious trade liberalisation agenda. The Commission has also agreed with Japan on specific ‘roadmaps’ for the removal, in the context of the negotiations, of non-tariff barriers as well as on the opening up of public procurement for Japan’s railways and urban transport market.

Given the importance that the elimination of non-tariff barriers has for achieving a level playing field for European businesses on the Japanese market, the negotiating directives adopted by the Council foresee a parallelism between the elimination of EU duties and of non-tariff barriers in Japan. They also authorise the suspension of the negotiations after one year, if Japan does not live up to its commitments on removing non-tariff barriers. To protect sensitive European sectors, there is a safeguard clause.

What has happened so far

At the EU-Japan Summit of May 2011, the EU and Japan decided to start preparations for both an FTA and a political framework agreement and stated that on the basis of a successful scoping exercise, the Commission would seek the necessary authorisation from the Council for negotiations.

After one year of intensive discussions, in May 2012, the Commission has agreed with Japan on a very ambitious agenda for the future negotiations covering all EU market access priorities. On 18 July 2012 the European Commission asked the EU Member States for their agreement on opening negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan. On 29 November 2012 the Council decided to give the Commission ‘the green light’ to start trade negotiations with Japan.

EU-Japan Trade relations

Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia, after China. In 2011 EU exports had reached a value of €49 billion, mainly in the sectors of machinery and transport equipment, chemical products and agricultural products. In 2011 EU imports from Japan accounted for €67.5 billion, with mostly machinery and transport equipment and chemical products. In 2011, EU imports and exports of commercial services from and to Japan were €15.9 billion and €21.8 billion. Japan is a major investor in the EU. In 2011 the EU inward FDI stock had reached a value of €144.2 billion. Japan’s inward FDI has increased markedly since the mid-1990s, but remains very low in comparison with other OECD countries (EU investments worth €85.8 billion in 2011).


The EU’s free trade agreements – where are we?

25/03/2013 – Over the next two years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the EU. That is why it is a key priority for the EU to open up more market opportunities for European business by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries. If we were to complete all our current free trade talks tomorrow, we would add 2.2% to the EU’s GDP or €275 billion. This is equivalent to adding a country as big as Austria or Denmark to the EU economy. In terms of employment, these agreements could generate 2.2 million new jobs or additional 1% of the EU total workforce. Below is an overview of the most important forthcoming and on-going free trade negotiations.

Forthcoming negotiations

The EU and Japan officially launched negotiations for a free trade agreement on 25 March 2013 The EU Member States gave the Commission a mandate in November 2012 to open negotiations and the first round of talks is scheduled to take place mid-April in Brussels.

Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia, after China. An FTA could increase the EU’s GDP by 0.6% and boost EU exports to Japan by a third. 400,000 additional jobs are expected in the EU alone as a result of this deal.

The Commission is aware of concerns in some Member States, particularly as regards non-tariff barriers in Japan. This is exactly why the Commission agreed with Japan – even before potential negotiations started – that Europe can ‘pull the plug’ on negotiations after one year if Japan does not demonstrate that it is removing certain non-tariff barriers.

United States of America – On 12 March, the European Commission agreed the draft mandate for what is hoped to be a relatively quick negotiation. The document has now been sent to the Council for the Member States to approve it before negotiations can start This was the Commission’s response to the agreement between the EU and US a month earlier to start internal procedures to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This decision was based on recommendations of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth that had steered the reflection on the future EU-US relations since late 2011.

According to an independent study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, an ambitious and comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership could bring the EU economic gains of €119 billion a year once the agreement is fully implemented. This translates on average to an extra €545 in disposable income each year for a family of four in the EU

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – On 6 March 2013, the EU launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Thailand (IP/13/179) – the fourth ASEAN country to negotiate bilaterally with the EU and the EU’s third largest trading partner in the region, just after Malaysia. The EU remains open to start negotiations with other ASEAN partners and hopes one day to integrate these deals into a global region-to-region trade agreement.

Southern Mediterranean On 1 March 2013, President Barroso and Moroccan Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane announced the launch of EU-Morocco negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The deal should strengthen EU-Morocco trade relations and will build upon existing agreements, including the Association Agreement of 2000 and the agreement on agricultural, processed agricultural and fisheries products of 2012. The first round of talks will take place in the coming weeks.

Morocco is the first Mediterranean country to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU and could be followed relatively soon by Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia as in December 2012, the Commission received a mandate to “upgrade” current trade agreements with all these Mediterranean countries.

On-going negotiations

Canada – Negotiations for an EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) started in May 2009 and are now in their final stretch. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast met in Ottawa in February 2013. Progress was made but there are still some important gaps to be bridged before an agreement is reached. Canada is the EU’s eleventh most important trading partner whereas the EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. In 2011, the value of bilateral trade in goods between the EU and Canada was €52.5 billion. An economic study jointly released by the EU and Canada in 2008 showed a comprehensive trade agreement could increase their bilateral trade by another €25.7 billion.

India – Talks started in 2007. Substantive progress has been achieved and there is renewed momentum with the contours of a deal emerging. Now both sides need to go the final mile to put the package together. India combines a sizable and growing market of more than 1 billion people and is an important trade partner for the EU as well as an emerging global economic power.

In the ASEAN region, the EU is currently negotiating Free Trade Agreements with Malaysia (launched in May 2010) and Vietnam (launched in June 2012 – IP/12/689). Negotiations with Thailand are about to start (see above). ASEAN as a whole represents the EU’s third largest trading partner outside Europe (after the US and China) with trade in goods and services topping €206 billion in 2011.

Mercosur – After more than two years of technical work, the EU estimates that it is now time to move on to the exchange of market access offers if we want to give the negotiations a renewed impetus. The objective is for a balanced and ambitious trade agreement.

Eastern Neighbourhood – The EU is currently negotiating a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area as part of Association Agreements with Georgia, Armenia and Moldova.

Gulf Cooperation Council – Negotiations for a free trade agreement were suspended by the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2008. Informal contacts between negotiators continue to take place.

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) – Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade and development partnerships between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), based on the Cotonou Agreement (2000). EPA negotiations started in 2002 and have now been concluded with three regions, which have initialled (and then signed and ratified) an agreement: the Caribbean (CARIFORUM), the Pacific (only country currently involved: Papua New Guinea), and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA – Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles). Negotiations are in a decisive phase in the SADC EPA Group. Progress is uneven in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The EU therefore has nine trade negotiations under way and several more trade and development negotiations (EPAs) ongoing. 

Free Trade Agreements finished but not yet entered into force

Singapore – The negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Singapore were concluded on 16 December 2012 (IP/12/1380). This agreement is the EU’s second ambitious agreement with a key Asian trading partner, after the EU-Korea FTA, and the first with a member of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Once fully implemented, the deal will open up markets on both sides in a number of sectors, including banking, insurance and other financial services industries. Both the EU and Singapore will now seek endorsement from their respective political authorities and envisage initialling the draft agreement in spring 2013. Singapore is the EU’s largest trading partner in South-East Asia. EU-Singapore trade in goods and services each grew by roughly 40% between 2009 and 2011 (MEMO/12/993).

Colombia Colombia, together with Peru, concluded an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement with the EU in June 2012. Colombia is expected to be in a position to apply the agreement provisionally in the coming months. The EU is the second largest trading partner of the Andean region after the US. It’s expected that, once fully implemented, the deal will result in total tariff saving of more than €500 million per year.

Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) – The Association Agreement between the European Union and Central America was approved by the European Parliament on 11 December 2012 (IP/12/1353). Once ratified by our partners, this agreement will open up markets on both sides, help establish a stable business and investment environment. The agreement is also meant to reinforce regional economic integration in Central America. In 2011, bilateral trade in goods between Central America and the European Union was worth €52.8 billion.

Ukraine – The EU and Ukraine concluded the negotiations for a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in December 2011. The next step will be the signature of the Agreement by the Council, once the political conditions are met.

There are also five Economic Partnership Agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific States that have been negotiated but they have not yet entered into force. These are Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Southern African Development Community, Ghana and Eastern African Community.

The EU has finished negotiating 9 trade agreements that have yet to enter into force

Free Trade Agreements already in force

Peru, in force since 1 March 2013 – The FTA with Peru (a three-way FTA also including Colombia) has been provisionally in force since 1 March 2013 (IP/13/173). EU-Peru trade has grown significantly in recent years and its volume reached €9.2 billion in 2011, corresponding to 16% of Peru’s trade volume. The trade agreement represents among others an important opportunity for Peruvian agricultural and fisheries exports, which already represent almost a third of all the country’s exports to the EU.

South Korea, in force since 1 July 2011 – This agreement is the first of a new generation of free trade agreements that went further than ever before at lifting trade barriers and making it easier for European and Korean companies to do business together. As the FTA has lowered import tariffs for European products at the Korean border, it’s estimated that in the first nine months EU firms have already made cash savings of €350 – from boost in sales of European wine to high-quality fashion products (IP/12/708).

Mexico – Since the entry into force in October 2000 of this comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, total bilateral trade has doubled, passing from €21.7 billion in 2000 to €40.1 billion in 2011. On his recent visit to Mexico in November 2012, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht called for an upgrade of the current FTA (SPEECH/12/825).

South Africa – South Africa is the EU’s largest trading partner in Africa. The Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement, in force since 2000, established a free trade area that covers 90% of bilateral trade between the EU and South Africa. The liberalisation schedules were completed by 2012.

Chile – The EU and Chile concluded an Association Agreement in 2002, which included a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that entered into force in February 2003. The EU-Chile Free Trade Agreement is broad and comprehensive and covers all the areas of EU-Chile trade relations. EU is Chile’s second largest source of imports, after the USA. The EU is also Chile’s third largest export market, after the recent rise of China as an important export market for the EU.

On top of these “classic” free trade deals, Free Trade Agreements are a core component of many Association Agreements as well as Customs Unions (Andorra, San Marino, Turkey). Hence the EU also has free trade deals in force with a number of countries in Europe (Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) and the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia) and three with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (Caribbean, Pacific and Eastern and Southern Africa).


UE-Japon: une coopération renforcée dans la gestion des catastrophes

25/03/2013 –  Mme Kristalina Georgieva, commissaire européenne chargée de la coopération internationale, de l’aide humanitaire et de la réaction aux crises, et M. Akihiro Ohta, ministre japonais de l’aménagement du territoire, des infrastructures, des transports et du tourisme, ont échangé des lettres établissant un cadre afin de renforcer davantage la coopération entre l’UE et le Japon en matière de gestion des catastrophes.

«Les catastrophes naturelles s’intensifient et deviennent plus fréquentes. Cela nous rend tous vulnérables. La triple catastrophe qui a frappé le Japon en mars 2011 a montré que même les pays les mieux préparés pouvaient être submergés par les forces de la nature. Nous pouvons mieux relever ces défis en collaborant. Je suis convaincue que l’échange d’informations et de bonnes pratiques profitera à l’UE comme au Japon», a déclaré Mme Kristalina Georgieva.

Ces lettres jettent les bases de la coopération dans un large éventail de domaines touchant à la réduction des risques de catastrophe, notamment les catastrophes naturelles et d’origine humaine de grande ampleur liées à l’eau, comme les inondations, les sécheresses, les glissements de terrain et les tsunamis. La coopération portera sur la préparation et la réaction aux catastrophes majeures ainsi que sur l’intégration de l’adaptation au changement climatique dans la politique de gestion des catastrophes. L’objectif global est de se concentrer sur les enseignements à tirer des expériences mutuelles.

La détermination du Japon et de l’UE à renforcer leur coopération s’inscrit dans le prolongement des mesures prises après le tremblement de terre, le tsunami et l’accident nucléaire qui ont frappé le Japon en 2011. Lors du sommet UE-Japon de 2011, les partenaires avions déjà établi un programme de travail ambitieux, qui comprenait un chapitre sur l’aide humanitaire, les opérations de secours d’urgence ainsi que sur la préparation aux catastrophes et leur prévention.

Bien que le Japon soit l’un des pays les mieux préparés pour faire face aux catastrophes, la magnitude du tremblement de terre et le tsunami qui s’en est suivi ont rendu nécessaire une aide internationale pour compléter sa capacité d’action. L’UE a fait preuve de solidarité et de générosité en apportant aux victimes de la catastrophe un ensemble cohérent de mesures d’aide.

Mme Georgieva, qui a été la première personnalité politique internationale de haut rang à se rendre au Japon au lendemain de la catastrophe, a exprimé la solidarité de l’UE avec le Japon.

Depuis, le partenariat établi entre l’UE et le Japon en vue renforcer la résilience a fait l’objet d’une attention particulière et figurera en tête des priorités de «l’après-Hyogo», cadre piloté par les Nations unies pour intégrer pleinement la réduction des risques de catastrophe dans les pays participants. Les deux partenaires œuvrent à l’intégration des initiatives de prévention des catastrophes dans les plans de développement et à la réduction de l’impact des catastrophes naturelles grâce au renforcement de la résilience des communautés.


À la suite du tremblement de terre, du tsunami et de l’accident nucléaire qui ont frappé le Japon en 2011, ce dernier et l’UE ont convenu d’intensifier encore leur dialogue et leur coopération en matière de réaction aux catastrophes. Au cours des deux dernières années, ECHO, le service d’aide humanitaire et de protection civile de la Commission européenne, a établi une coopération plus étroite avec les autorités japonaises dans les domaines des opérations de secours d’urgence et de la préparation aux catastrophes et de leur prévention. L’échange de lettres fournit un cadre solide pour faire progresser cette coopération.

En outre, l’UE et le Japon renforcent leur coopération pour favoriser et faciliter l’acheminement de l’aide humanitaire dans le monde entier, en fonction des besoins des personnes touchées par des catastrophes ou des crises et dans le respect des principes humanitaires.

Après la triple catastrophe, l’UE a réagi rapidement, en faisant preuve de solidarité: 19 États membres ont fourni près de 400 tonnes de dons en nature, comme des équipements de protection et des appareils de mesure de l’intensité des doses de radiation, qui ont été acheminés au Japon par l’intermédiaire du mécanisme de protection civile de l’UE. La contribution financière totale de l’UE et de ses États membres s’est élevée à plus de 17 millions d’euros. Ces fonds ont permis de fournir des vivres, des abris et des soins à des milliers de Japonais victimes du tremblement de terre et du tsunami.

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