Deepening EU-Japan cooperation

In-Depth Analysis 10-11-2023

The EU–Japan partnership has undergone a substantial transformation over the past two decades. Historically limited to trade and economic cooperation, the decision to step up political-security cooperation, recorded since the mid-2010s, is a result of both partners’ shifting foreign policy outlooks against an increasingly volatile global strategic environment that is defined by a return of great power politics. The conclusion of the EU–Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) in 2018 marks a symbolic upgrade in the relationship, reflecting a growing strategic alignment and willingness to address common global security challenges. Bilateral cooperation has so far increased, especially in the fields of economic security, maritime security, cybersecurity, sustainable connectivity, energy transition, digital transformation, as well as greater coordination within relevant multilateral international frameworks. However, the prospects for further cooperation are vast and many of the political agreements still need to be translated into action. This In-Depth Analysis traces the progress in EU–Japan cooperation achieved so far, highlighting the most promising areas for future collaboration based on both parties shared strategic interests, respective capacities, and political objectives.