Drifting apart?

Japan-EU relations

Authored by: Julie Gilson

Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics

Print publication date:  February  2011
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415551373
eBook ISBN: 9780203829875
Adobe ISBN: 9781136818387


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A cursory glance at GDP figures, principles of democracy and shared history would lead any casual observer to believe that Japan and the European Union (EU) enjoy a significant bilateral relationship in political and economic affairs. In reality, however, the fact that they jointly represent 40 percent of the world’s GDP, share Russia as a neighbor, the United States as an ally and China as a challenge has been insufficient to ensure that each side takes their mutual engagement seriously. The debacle at the Copenhagen climate change summit in December 2009 merely served to reinforce the image of failure; not only that Japan and the EU are unable to implement joint agreements, but also that each has lost global relevance. In an era of growing strategic multilateralism, then, what, if anything, is the relevance of the Japan-EU relationship?

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