EU and Japan leaders signal close coordination in responding to the coronavirus pandemic and a commitment to enhance their strategic partnership

On 26 May, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Council President Charles Michel and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe held a virtual leaders’ meeting and have issued a joint press release. They addressed the response to the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the importance of global solidarity, cooperation and effective multilateralism. The leaders discussed the need to draw lessons from the current situation in order to prevent future pandemics, and the steps to be taken in this regard. Building on the successful pledging initiative of “the Global Coronavirus Response” that started on 4 May, the leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to global collaboration and sustained funding for developing and deploying effective antiviral medicines, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines in order to make them available to all at an affordable price. Illustrating the commitment of the EU and Japan to accelerate cooperation on research on health, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel and the Minister of State of Japan for Science and Technology Policy, Naokazu Takemoto, signed in the margins of the video conference, a Letter of Intent on strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation. This includes collaboration between Japan’s Moonshot Research and Development Program and the EU’s Horizon Europe Programme. Presidents von der Leyen and Michel and Prime Minister Abe stressed their determination to ensure a robust economic recovery and rebuild more sustainable, inclusive and resilient economies, in keeping with the Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The leaders stressed the need to assist developing countries in their response to the coronavirus, for example through the “Team Europe” support package of over €20 billion. The leaders also discussed the geopolitical consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and reiterated their commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and to strengthening practical cooperation. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the EU-Japan strategic partnership, which has been strengthened by the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement. For more information on EU-Japan relations, consult the dedicated factsheet and the website of the EU Delegation.