Van hier tot Tokio: the 400-year Dutch-Japanese bond

31 Jan 2023 - 13:50
Bron: ©RISAP

The Clingendael Institute's Senior Research Fellow Maaike Okano-Heijmans is featured in the new book Developing the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership: An analysis of European Union member states’ relations with Japan, published by The Romanian Institute for the Study of the Asia-Pacific (RISAP). Read more about the project and the book here.

Okano-Heijmans, together with former Clingendael research assistant Kayle van 't Klooster, wrote a chapter on the longstanding relation between the Netherlands and Japan. Read an introduction below. 


Van hier tot Tokio: The 400-year-old bond between the Netherlands and Japan continues to prosper


With more than 400 years of continued relations to build on, the Dutch-Japanese relationship is an exceptionally stable and productive bilateral relationship. From the earliest contacts in the early 1600s, to the continued cooperation today, the focus has primarily been on economic contacts. 

For long, experts had lamented the fact that the only problem between the two countries, which kept them from developing strong bilateral relations, was that there were no problems. In recent years, a mutual interest in building a free, open and rulesbased multilateral trading system and Indo-Pacific region has presented the opportunity for a new chapter in the relationship to be opened. As challenges to the open, rulesbased multilateral system grow, ties between the Netherlands and Japan as partners grow broader and deeper and official leaders and documents increasingly emphasize like-mindedness. More accurately, perhaps, is a characterization of two countries whose vital interests increasingly align – notwithstanding different approaches and prioritization to cultural, societal, historical and political issues. In any case, there can be little doubt that today the Dutch-Japanese relationship is moving forward, beyond its traditional focus, primarily trade and investment relations. 

Continue reading here (p. 387).