Set up of a high -level group between EU and Japan

As their bilateral summit in Tokyo drew to a close this wednesday, the EU and Japan agreed to set up a high-level group to explore opportunities for economic and political collaboration.

This is the first summit meeting that the EU has held outside Europe since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force last year. The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, while Japan was represented by its Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, also took part in the talks, along with the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht.

At this, their nineteenth summit meeting, EU and Japanese leaders stressed the fact that they hold the same values regarding rule of law, peace and democracy, and that they will continue to work together in the battle against climate change and managing the economic crisis, under the auspices of the United Nations and the G20.

The EU’s relationship with Japan rests upon both sides being advanced industrialised democracies that share many common interests and values. The scope of the overall relationship has broadened in recent years along the lines of the action plan adopted in 2001, and now goes far beyond the earlier trade-related focus of the 1970s and 1980s.

Cooperation today takes place at all levels up to the top-level EU-Japan annual summit meetings, and covers foreign policy, economic and trade relations and regional and global challenges.

Sector-based dialogue also takes place in various fields, such as the environment, information society, technology, industrial policy and financial services, and the two sides cooperate closely in international forums such as the United Nations, the WTO and the G8.

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