Members' Research Service By / December 10, 2018

The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – A framework to promote shared values [International Agreements in Progress]

The SPA represents a framework strengthening the overall partnership, by promoting political and sectoral cooperation and joint actions in more than 40 areas of common interest.

© mattiaath / Fotolia

Written by Enrico D’Ambrogio (2nd edition, updated on 22.01.2019),

Diplomatic handshake between countries: flags of European Union and Japan overprinted the two hands
© mattiaath / Fotolia

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on ‘enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia’. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a ‘proactive contributor for peace’. In order to enhance their relations, in July 2018 the EU and Japan signed a binding Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), along with an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), negotiated in parallel.

The SPA represents a framework strengthening the overall partnership, by promoting political and sectoral cooperation and joint actions in more than 40 areas of common interest. Once adopted, the EU-Japan strategic partnership will become more operational. The agreement will facilitate joint EU-Japan efforts to promote shared values such as human rights and rule of law, a rules-based international system, and peace and stability across the world. It will allow EU-Japan security cooperation to reach its full potential.

Strategic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Japan, of the other part
Committee responsible: Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Rapporteurs:2018/0122 (NLE) Alojz Peterle (EPP, Slovenia)

international agreement in progress - EP consent


Read the complete briefing on ‘The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – A framework to promote shared values‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


Figure 1 – Japan, its neighbours and territorial disputes
Japan, its neighbours and territorial disputes

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