EU-Japan: Council endorses the conclusion of the strategic partnership agreement

The Council adopted today a decision on the conclusion of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the European Union and its member states and Japan. Today’s decision clears the path, on the EU side, for the entry into force of the agreement as soon as the parties will have completed their internal procedure and notified their counterparts.

This is the first-ever bilateral framework agreement between the EU and Japan.

The agreement sets out an overarching framework for enhanced political and sectoral cooperation, thus ensuring closer political and economic cooperation on a whole host of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues.

Through the SPA, the EU and Japan commit to strengthen the rules-based global order, enhance global governance and defend joint values and principles such as: the rule of law, democracy, respect for human rights, open markets, free and fair trade.

The agreement sets the stage for increasing consultation and coordination in multilateral fora. The parties commit to work together to defend a rules-based multilateral trading system having the World Trade Organization at its core, promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate action, and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.

Concerning the bilateral dimension, the agreement will allow parties to take forward security cooperation, jointly tackle terrorism and serious international crimes and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore the SPA will enhance all areas of existing sectorial cooperation, such as. space, information and communication technologies, industrial policy, energy, transport, education, research and innovation.

Lastly, the SPA will provide for a joint committee to coordinate the overall partnership providing a forum to discuss all the issues covered in the agreement, and a dispute settlement procedure.

On 17 July 2018 the EU and Japan, signed the agreement in Tokyo. The European Parliament gave its consent on 12 December 2018, and on 5 April 2024, the ratification procedures of the agreement by member states were finalised.

In parallel to the negotiations on the SPA, the EU and its member states opened negotiations for an economic partnership agreement with Japan on 29 November 2012. These began in April 2013 and the contents of the first-ever bilateral framework agreement between the EU and Japan were finalised in April 2018.