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Procedure : 2018/0122M(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0385/2018

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Debates :

PV 11/12/2018 - 14
CRE 11/12/2018 - 14

Votes :

PV 12/12/2018 - 12.9

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 - Strasbourg
EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (resolution)

European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 12 December 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Japan, of the other part (08462/2018 – C8-0417/2018 – 2018/0122M(NLE))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (08462/2018),

–  having regard to the draft Strategic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, on the one part, and Japan, on the other part(1) (08463/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 37 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 212(1), Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) and Article 218(8), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0417/2018),

–  having regard to the EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement (SPA), signed in Tokyo on 17 July 2018,

–  having regard to the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement (EPA), signed in Tokyo on 17 July 2018,

–  having regard to the 25th bilateral summit held in Tokyo on 17 July 2018 and to its joint statement,

–  having regard to the first bilateral summit held in the Hague in 1991 and to the adoption of a joint declaration on EC-Japan relations,

–  having regard to the 20th EU-Japan Summit held in 2010,

–  having regard to the joint communication of 19 September 2018 of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank on ‘Connecting Europe and Asia - Building blocks for an EU Strategy’,

–  having regard to the global strategy for the foreign and security policy of the European Union published by the VP/HR in June 2016,

–  having regard to the Guidelines on the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy in East Asia, approved by the Council on 15 June 2012,

–  having regard to the agreement between the European Community and Japan on cooperation in science and technology signed in 2009(2),

–  having regard to the EU-Japan Action Plan of 2001,

–  having regard to the visit of an ad hoc delegation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to Tokyo, Japan and South Korea of 3-6 April 2018,

–  having regard to the 38th EU-Japan Interparliamentary Meeting, held in Tokyo on 9-10 May 2018,

–  having regard to the visit of an ad hoc delegation of the Subcommittee on Defence and Security to Tokyo of 22-25 May 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2014 containing its recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service on the negotiations of the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership agreement(3),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 12 December 2018 on the draft decision(4),

–  having regard to Rule 99(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0385/2018),

A.  whereas the EU and Japan have been strategic partners since 2003 and continue to cooperate closely in numerous multilateral fora;

B.  whereas the EU and Japan as like-minded global partners share a special responsibility for fostering peace, stability, multilateralism, respect for human rights, prosperity and defending rules-based order in a rapidly changing world;

C.  whereas around one third of global economic production will be covered by the EU-Japan SPA/FTA;

D.  whereas the Japanese government has launched security policy reforms which include bolstering defence capabilities, revamping the US alliance and cooperating with other democracies in the region and beyond;

E.  whereas Japan’s contribution to international security and stability has increased; whereas Japan’s 2013 National Security Strategy refers to the policy of ‘Proactive Contribution to Peace’ based on the principle of international cooperation;

F.  whereas Japan is NATO’s longest-standing partner and has signed cooperation agreements on classified information, cybersecurity, anti-piracy, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance;

G.  whereas Japan has over the last decades won international acclaim for its policy of military restraint, which has by no means stood in the way of its rise to become one of the most important economic and political players in the world;

H.  whereas Japan led the efforts to revise the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) following the withdrawal of the US, and ratified the revised agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP or TPP-11), in July 2018; whereas Japan has also shown interest in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes China;

I.  whereas Japan is an active member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Bank (AFDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and other specialised UN agencies, as well as of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD); whereas Japan is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Group of Seven (G7) and the Group of Twenty (G20);

J.  whereas the Japanese government approved a new Development Cooperation Charter in February 2015;

The agreement and EU-Japan relations

1.  Welcomes the conclusion of the draft SPA, which provides a legally binding framework, strengthens EU-Japan bilateral relations and increases cooperation in more than 40 areas, such as foreign policy and security issues including promotion of peace and stability, emergency relief operations, global development and humanitarian aid, economic matters, research, innovation, education, food safety, agricultural policy, ICT policy, space technology, culture and sport, as well as on global challenges that require global coordination such as climate change, migration, cyberthreats, public health, cross-border crime, peace-building operations, crisis and disaster management and the fight against terrorism;

2.  Highlights the linkages between the SPA and the EPA, the world’s largest bilateral free trade agreement; considers the conclusion of the two agreements as an upgrade in partnership with the objective of providing concrete benefits for the people of EU and Japan, and supports further cooperation in multilateral fora; welcomes the mutual respect and confidence that were strengthened during the negotiation process;

3.  Welcomes the reference in Article 1(3) of the SPA to a parliamentary dimension aimed at strengthening the partnership through dialogue and cooperation in the areas of political issues, foreign and security policies and other sectoral cooperation; suggests, in this connection, that the Diet and the European Parliament continue to develop parliamentary oversight and dialogue with the aim of ensuring that the contractually agreed cooperation is implemented; calls for the European Parliament to oversee Joint Committee meetings and their documentation; urges further involvement and promotion of ownership by civil society in the implementation of the SPA; reiterates its conviction that the concrete form of general and sectoral cooperation should, in principle, be based on the sustainability objectives and targets to be implemented by 2030, jointly adopted by the UN and also endorsed by the contracting parties;

4.  Stresses the need to work together at multilateral level to promote accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism and fighting impunity of the most serious crimes against international law and violations of human rights;

5.  Recalls that a comprehensive and coherent diplomatic, economic, cultural and security approach is needed in the developing world where security and development go hand in hand, a vision shared by the EU and Japan;

Human rights and fundamental freedoms

6.  Reaffirms the shared commitment to respect for human rights, democracy, fundamental freedoms, good governance and the rule of law, and common values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to working together for the global promotion and protection of these values and the rules-based international order;

7.  Notes that Japan has not ratified two ILO core conventions (on Discrimination and the Abolition of Forced Labour) and welcomes Japan’s decision to establish an inter-ministerial framework to deal with the implementation of sustainable development commitments under the EPA, including the ratification of such conventions;

8.  Stresses the need for further cooperation on women´s rights in order to ensure that the achievement of gender equality is one of the key objectives of the partnership; encourages the Japanese Diet to further work on legislation to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity;

9.  Condemns the fact that capital punishment is still a legal penalty in Japan, and that executions are carried out without inmates being given any advance warning; stresses that the UN Committee against Torture has criticised this practice for the psychological strain it places on the inmates and their families; supports the efforts of the UN on the phasing-out of capital punishment; calls for the EU to enter into a dialogue with the Japanese Government on a moratorium on capital punishment with a view to its eventual abolition;

Regional and international relations

10.  Recalls that the 2016 EU Global Strategy identified a direct connection between European prosperity and Asian security, and called for the EU to make greater practical contributions and work with partners like Japan to promote peace in the Korean peninsula and the highly important peaceful settlement of maritime and territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas, on the basis of international law and conventions; underlines the importance of confidence-building and preventive diplomacy; stresses that the freedom of international navigation must be respected; welcomes the meeting of Prime Minister Abe and President Xi in Beijing on 26 October 2018 and the announcement of a commitment to open a new chapter of relations, as a step towards improving bilateral ties and reducing regional tensions;

11.  Recognises that Chinese and Russian influence in the Asia-Pacific region is a major security challenge for Japan, as well as for EU interests, and therefore welcomes the commitments of the SPA to deepen EU-Japan security cooperation as a bulwark against such threats;

12.  Welcomes the establishment of the Mission of Japan to NATO on 1 July 2018;

13.  Welcomes the EU’s new strategy for improving connectivity with Asia through promoting dialogue, stability, regional and international cooperation, interoperable transport, energy and digital networks, and people-to-people links; underlines the opportunities connectivity brings for stepping up exchanges in the fields of education, science, research and culture;

14.  Calls for the expansion of bilateral EU-Japan and plurilateral cooperation with South Korea, the DPRK, the US and China in support of efforts to secure peace and maintain stability in the region, peaceful coexistence in the Korean peninsula, and the complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation of the DPRK; expresses the importance of further Japan-South Korea cooperation and good neighbourly relations which could contribute to regional stability and address security risks such as the DPRK; pledges to support continued international pressure on the DPRK to ensure that concrete steps are taken towards denuclearisation; supports international cooperation on how to resolve the issue of missing Japanese citizens feared abducted by the North Korean regime; emphasises that stability in north-east Asia corresponds to Europe’s core interests;

15.  Suggests that the EU and Japan work together to increase the capacities of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regarding the regional integration and cooperation agenda and the capacity to resolve conflicts in the region collectively and strengthen the present centrality of ASEAN in the South-east Asian multilateral order; supports the decision taken at the 33rd ASEAN-Japan Forum in Tokyo to further strengthen ties and address regional and international issues of common interest and to work together to promote peace and stability; believes that the promotion and protection of human rights contributes effectively to these two objectives; calls for synergies between Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy and EU initiatives, including the EU Investment Plan and the extended EU Trans-European Transport Networks, in order to promote global cooperation in connectivity;

16.  Notes Japan’s ambition to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2023-2024, and welcomes its contribution to the UN in areas such as disarmament and non-proliferation, peacekeeping and peace building, and security;

Sectoral cooperation

17.  Highlights the opportunities and momentum the SPA gives to developing cultural relations and to cooperation in the field of youth, education and sport; takes note of the current low levels of people-to-people exchanges and of the linguistic barriers; suggests further investment to enhance citizen-to-citizen interaction, educational and cultural dialogue, academic mobility programmes under Erasmus+, and public diplomacy to promote mutual understanding and cultural diversity;

18.  Draws attention to the impetus that the SPA provides in furthering sectoral cooperation on consumer protection and exchanges on regulatory and supervisory regimes for the financial sector;

19.  Considers that the EU and Japan, as leading global donors with a long history of Official Development Assistance to less developed countries in East Asia and, more recently, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, are natural partners, together with recipient governments, in coordinating aid and ensuring coherence; stresses that the main purpose of development aid is poverty reduction with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and looks forward to mutual cooperation towards the achievement of those goals;

20.  Welcomes Japan’s ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, and urges its effective implementation with Japan taking a lead in proactively combating climate change and stepping up mitigation efforts; calls for the EU and Japan to intensify cooperation in the field of sustainable energy, e.g. in developing low-emission forms of transport; underlines that the Foreign Minister´s advisory panel on climate change issued its report in February 2018, placing the need for energy transition towards renewables at the core of Japan´s energy diplomacy strategy;

21.  Welcomes the inclusion of sustainable forest management in the agreement, and looks forward to further exchange of good practices regarding illegal logging, building on the experience of the EU Timber Regulation, with a view to introducing mandatory due diligence in Japanese legislation;

22.  Regrets Japan’s attempt to secure an end to the moratorium on commercial whaling at the September 2018 meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and calls for the suspension of whaling for scientific purposes;

23.  Stresses that Japan is the second biggest cosmetics market in the world; recalls that cosmetics testing on animals and the sale of imported cosmetic products tested on animals are banned in the EU; in this context encourages the Parties to exchange information and cooperate with a view to ending cosmetics testing on animals in Japan;

24.  Stresses the importance of the preservation of biological diversity, and encourages Japan to lift its reservations to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);

25.  Calls for the swift ratification of the provisional agreement by the parliaments of the EU Member States and for its thorough implementation in all sectors;

o   o

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and National Diet of Japan.

(1) OJ L 216, 24.8.2018, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 90, 6.4.2011, p. 2.
(3) OJ C 443, 22.12.2017, p. 49.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0506.

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