Europe in the World


EU–Japan relations in the age of competitive economic governance

30 Jul 2018 - 09:43
Bron: European Union and Japan ink free trade agreement, July 2018

EUJapan relations in the age of competitive economic governance in Asia

Are the trade deal and political agreement that the EU and Japan signed on 17 July 2018 an end or a beginning in EU-Japan relations? Senior Research Fellow Maaike Okano-Heijmans, together with co-author Takashi Terada of Doshisha University in Japan, argue that the two deals are an important acknowledgement of the growing importance of relations between the two sides. But effectively, Europe and Japan still fail to coordinate on a strategic vision of a world in which China is more influential - both at the EU Member State and at the EU level. Much more needs to be done.

Tokyo and Brussels agree that stronger EUJapan relations are of utmost importance in the age of competitive economic governance in Asia. The trade war initiated by President Trump of the U.S. as well as the connectivity conflict spurred by China’s Bel and Road Initiative only amplify a longer-term process: the upsurge in new economic regionalism in Asia and the Pacific, which constitutes a major toolkit in US and Chinese struggles to form a new regional economic order in Asia.

Okano-Heijmans and Terada discuss the actions and long-term objectives of the EU and Japan, and explore to what extent they have set out to coordinate their foreign economic policies in chapter 6 of the commercially published book The EU-Japan Partnership in the Shadow of China – The Crisis of Liberalism, co-edited by Axel Berkofsky, Christopher W. Hughes, Marie Söderberg and Paul Midford. The EU and Japan have taken rather distinct approaches in this field, as illustrated by their responses to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Belt and Road initiative (BRI), as well as in trade diplomacy. A policy coordination platform – building on the recently agreed trade deal and the political agreement – is urgently needed to secure their shared interest in the field of global economic and financial governance.

About the book
Both the European Union and Japan have been major beneficiaries and supporters of the liberal international order, first led by the United States since the end of World War II. During this period, they have emerged as global powers, however, the very order that nurtured their rise is now facing twin threats. First, through authoritarian China’s promotion of alternative models of global governance, and second from a crisis of liberalism, manifested in the policies of President Donald Trump and Brexit.

This book explores these challenges faced by both the EU and Japan, providing a multidisciplinary approach to studying the relationship between the two. It analyses their cooperation in terms of security, defence and trade and examines how their shared normative values are ultimately implemented. Having recently concluded an Economic Partnership Agreement and with a Strategic Partnership Agreement in the pipeline, this book asks whether they can convert their latent and modest cooperation into an alternative form of leadership and an antidote to the illiberal tide sweeping the developed world?

As the first book to shed light on the new Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the EU and Japan, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Japanese Studies, as well as European Union politics and international political economy more generally.

The book was presented by the editors during a professional luncheon meeting and press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on Friday, September 14, 2018 with a comment by co-author Maaike Okano Heijmans (52:06)