EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

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Founded 1987
Headquarters Head Office Japan: 1-27-6, Shirokane Minato, Tokyo 108-0072, Japan. EU Office: Rue Marie de Bourgogne 52, Brussels, Belgium.
Employees 30
Website [1]

Established in 1987, the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation is a unique venture [1] between the European Commission (Directorate General for Enterprises and Industry) and the Japanese Government (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) (METI).

The EU-Japan Centre has its head office in Tokyo and an office in Brussels. It is headed by two General Managers, one European and one Japanese, and has a total staff of 30 people.


The mission of the EU-Japan Centre, a non-profit organization, is to enhance all forms of industrial, trade and investment cooperation between Japan and the EU, and to strengthen the technological capabilities and the competitiveness of the European and Japanese industrial systems. The Centre was founded with a view to contributing to industrial cooperation between the Community and Japan, as specified in the Council Decision which constitutes the Centre’s legal basis.


  • Opening of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation (Tokyo, Japan).
  • Launch of bi-annual comprehensive training missions in Japan, “Japan Industry Insight”, for EU managers.
  • Launch of the “Renewable Energy” programme for EU and Japanese experts.
  • Launch of annual training missions in Japan focusing on “World Class Manufacturing”, for EU managers.
  • Launch of annual training missions in Japan focusing on “Innovation Made in Japan”, for EU managers.
  • The consolidation of the Centre was confirmed by Article 4 of Council Decision 92/278/EEC.[2]
  • Traditionally, Japan has always gained strong trade surpluses from its trade relationship with the EU, due to the specific features of its society and a complex web of regulations which make Japan a difficult country for EU investors and restrict business opportunities. The EU's main objective is to overcome the regulatory barriers and to promote structural reforms in Japan to increase E.U. exports.[3]
  • The relations between EU-Japan are not characterized by trade frictions anymore, but rather by industrial and economic cooperation.[4]
  • Opening of the European Office of the EU-Japan Centre (Brussels, Belgium) and launch of the “Vulcanus in Europe” programme offering language courses and internships in EU companies for Japanese students.
  • The EU-Japan Centre is appointed as the Secretariat for the EU-Japan Business Round Table which gathers about 50 leaders of EU and Japanese corporations.
  • Launch of the “Vulcanus in Japan” programme offering language courses and traineeships in Japanese companies for EU students.
  • Launch of annual training missions in Japan on “Meet Asia in Japan” for EU managers.
  • Launch of annual training missions in Japan on “Distribution & Business Practices” for EU managers.
  • The EU-Japan centre is appointed as “Coordinator in Europe” of Osaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s annual “Global Venture Forum” – a forum for EU and Japanese companies in new, high-tech, and emerging fields of business.
  • Launch of a series of seminars on EC policies targeting Japanese managers.
  • The “Vulcanus in Japan” programme is extended to engineers in architecture.
  • The “EU-Japan Bridge”, the first directory ever of all EU-Japan related organisations, is published under the supervision of the Centre. The “EU-Japan Bridge” is a directory of economic, industrial, technological, scientific and cultural links between each of the 25 EU Member States and Japan and is aimed at EU companies or individuals interested in starting or developing existing activities in Japan.[5]
  • Launch of annual missions on “FDI in Japan” for EU managers.
  • Launch of seminars on EU-Japan intercultural management.
  • The various programmes run by the Centre (Vulcanus Programme, management training programmes for senior EU executives) have gradually built up a reservoir of some 2,000 engineers and executives that today take an active part in EU-Japan trade and investment in their respective companies.
  • Launch of a series of seminars on Industrial Policy, Trade & Investment, and Environment & Energy.
  • Launch of training missions in the EU on “World Class Manufacturing” for EU managers and "Driving Competitiveness in the EU".
  • The EU-Japan Centre is appointed coordinator for J-BILAT (EC support towards the participation of the Japanese research community in the EU 7th Research Framework Programme).
  • The EU-Japan Centre is appointed coordinator of the "Enterprise Europe Network".
  • The Centre signs a Memorandum of Understanding with ZENIT GmbH (representing the European Cluster Collaboration Platform) with the objective of strengthening business, research and technological cooperation between EU and Japanese clusters.
  • Reinforced support for the internationalisation of SMEs. The Centre has started a new comprehensive info service in English on government procurement tender notices in Japan.
  • The Centre joins the EU funded consortium GNSS.Asia with the aim of promoting EU-Japan industrial cooperation on satellite navigation applications.
  • The EU-Japan Centre launches two new programmes aimed at enhancing EU-Japan business relations: “Step in Japan” and “Minerva”.

Services to business[edit]

Training for EU executives[edit]

The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation provides support to European companies through management training programmes held in Japan and covering a range of topics like “the latest developments in cost-efficient production techniques” and “how to succeed in doing business in Japan”. They are typically aimed at European Business Executives and usually last from 1 to 4 weeks. The EU-Japan Centre is trying to foster cooperation in research & innovation between the EU and Japan. The Business Programmes offered by the Centre are:

HRTP (Human Resources Training Programme-Japan Industry Insight)[edit]

The Human Resources Training Programme-Japan Industry Insight is a 4/5-week training programme in Japan for EU Managers.[6] The programme is directed at company managers (from small, medium or large enterprises) who wish to learn more about Japanese management practices and to gain a deeper insight into the Japanese business environment.[7]

WCM / World Class Manufacturing (in Japan)[edit]

5-day training course in Japan for EU managers working for manufacturing companies. The WCM programme, active since 1992 and consisting of 2 editions per year, is directed to both SMEs and larger companies. It proposes Japan as a model of excellence in cost-efficient production techniques and lean manufacturing, see kaizen.[8]

WCM / Driving Competitiveness (in the EU)[edit]

“Competitiveness for Internationalisation” enables EU companies (SMEs and other) to visit leading European factories to see world-class principles in action and to encourage them to adopt best practice techniques. By becoming more efficient, they will be better placed to develop their international activities.

These one-day visits take place in different locations around the EU and will include lectures, shop-floor visits, coaching and detailed explanations. These visits will be open to all, but priority is given to SMEs. Seeing is believing: through the plant tour and discussions, SMEs will be inspired to continue along or begin improvement activities.

Cluster Support Missions[edit]

Since 2012, the EU Japan Centre has organised cluster match-making missions in Japan. The Commission (DG Enterprise) has been developing new policies aimed at internationalizing SMEs through Clusters and the EU-Japan Centre's task is to support European SMEs in entering the Japanese market and establishing technology or business partnerships. Every year the Cluster Support Mission targets a different sector: Clean technologies in 2012, Biotechnologies in 2013 and 2014 and Nanotechnologies in 2015. The Cluster Support Missions generally last around a week and take place in Japan. Targeted are Clusters and their SMEs members in the related field.[9] The mission's objective is to increase SMEs innovation capacity and enhance their competitiveness on the global market. The cooperation between EU and Japanese clusters is another key point of this programme.[10]

Training for EU & Japanese students[edit]

Vulcanus in Europe[edit]

EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation - Brussels Office

The Vulcanus in Europe programme was established in 1996 as part of EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation. It is an industry-oriented one-year student exchange programme for Japanese students. Vulcanus offers placements in EU host companies active in the industrial sector. All EU companies in the industrial sector are eligible and the trainees are chosen from Japan's best students, either undergraduates in their third or fourth year or postgraduates following a course in engineering, architecture or sciences. The trainees are offered a four-month intensive language course before starting the traineeship. The traineeship lasts 8 months, in which both the host company and the trainee have a win-win situation: the company can get more familiar with the Japanese way of working and the trainee gets valuable work experience and a deeper understanding of the European business environment.[11]

Vulcanus in Japan[edit]

The Vulcanus in Japan programme was established one year later, in 1997, and proposes the same traineeship conditions for EU students in Japan. The students are offered industrial placements within Japanese host companies. A four-month Japanese language course is also provided.

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) / going international[edit]

The Enterprise Europe Network is the largest network in Europe providing support for SMEs in the field of international business cooperation. This service is targeted at SMEs wishing to expand business to another country by finding competent partners. The network consists of over 600 organizations (chambers of commerce, regional development agencies etc.) located in 52 countries worldwide.[12] 'GOING INTERNATIONAL' consists of a platform/search tool promoting and disseminating the profiles of SMEs worldwide. The EU-Japan Centre facilitates access to this platform for EU SMEs wishing to find business partners in Japan.

Step in Japan[edit]

The Step in Japan scheme is a landing pad for EU-based SMEs interested in entering into or expanding within Japan. Step in Japan offers free support for EU SMEs, granting free business facilities (offices, meeting rooms, internet and phone) and free assistance with the Enterprise Europe Network's Business Matching Platform.[13]

'Step in Japan' Office Space

EU Business in Japan (Portal)[edit]

The EU-Japan Centre is developing a platform (to be launched in January 2014) providing business information to the public, in accordance with the project of the Directorate-General for Enterprise & Industry [14] of the European Commission.

Keys to Japan[edit]

Keys to Japan is a new European Commission-funded initiative, managed by the EU-Japan Centre to help selected European SMEs considering marketing a product or service in Japan by developing a detailed and personalised market entry plan for them. The cost of each plan will be covered by the EU-Japan Centre. Each plan is worth €10,000 and will be prepared by JMEC.

3 plans will be offered each year: 1 plan is reserved for a market entry plan covering end-user applications or receiver technology using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); the other 2 plans can be for any relevant industrial or consumer product or service.

R&D innovation[edit]


The EU enhances R&D activities in a wide range of scientific disciplines through the FP7 financial tool, the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development (RTD) and demonstration activities (FP7)[15]. A 3-year project, J-BILAT, was funded in 2010 by DG RTD of the European Commission. J-BILAT's main objective is to foster the participation of the Japanese research community in the EU 7th Research Framework Programme and to assist in the implementation of the EU-Japan Science and Technology Agreement. A new project, JEUPISTE, was founded in September 2013 to contribute to the reinforcement of the Europe-Japan cooperation for 3 years;[16]


The GNSS.Asia project has been developed in order to facilitate EU-Asia cooperation on satellite navigation applications. Receiving funds from the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), GNSS.Asia has the objective of developing and enhancing GNSS industrial cooperation activities between the EU and China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, with a special focus on the downstream sector (applications and receivers).[17]

International cluster cooperation[edit]

Regional clusters recognise an increasing need for internationalisation, both in Europe and in Japan. They aim at widening both their network and their know-how, in order to gain international weight and visibility. In this context, the EU-Japan Centre provides a helpdesk service supporting EU and Japanese clusters in their search for partners overseas.

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) / technology transfer[edit]

The Enterprise Europe Network consists of over 600 organizations located in 52 countries worldwide [18] It is the largest network in Europe providing support for SMEs in the fields of innovation, knowledge and technology transfer and cooperation. It is targeted at SMEs wishing to share cutting-edge knowledge/solutions with other competent business partners. The EEN platform/search tool promotes and disseminates worldwide the profiles of SMEs and their innovative high-tech solutions. The EU-Japan Centre facilitates access to this platform for EU SMEs interested in partnering with Japan.

Policy analysis[edit]

Imperial Gardens

Seminars & Workshops[edit]

The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation organises seminars/workshops in Europe and Japan on issues of interest to both European and Japanese industry and often addressing key policy issues for the EU and Japanese Authorities. As well as addressing policy issues, these events also showcase European and Japanese case studies and provide a forum for dialogue between industry, policymakers and other parties.[19] In recent years, the seminars have covered a range of issues including:

  • Free Trade
  • Industrial policies
  • Energy, environment and climate change.

The seminars and workshops cover a wide variety of topics and are organised in conjunction with other organisations including think-tanks, academic organisations, EU institutions such as the European Economic and Social Committee and government bodies such as Enterprise Ireland.

EU-Japan Business Round Table[edit]

The EU-Japan Centre acts as the Secretariat for the annual EU-Japan Business Round Table, which is a meeting between CEOs and senior executives of some 40 leading EU and Japanese firms, where they discuss factors affecting all aspects of business cooperation between the EU and Japan, and then issue policy recommendations to the European Commission and Japanese Government. Subsequently, the European Commission and Japanese Government issue Progress Reports every year in order to assess to what extent the recommendations from the Round Table have been considered or implemented. The Business Round Table is very useful,[20] since it provides the EU and the Japanese authorities with an in-depth perspective of the major issues faced by companies in Japan and Europe.[21]

Minerva scholarships[edit]

Minerva is a 6 month in-house fellowship scheme in Japan designed for EU and Japanese scholars, trade/economic analysts and civil servants, with the aim of supporting the development of new perspectives on EU-Japan trade relations, economic and industrial issues through their research.


  1. ^ Speech by Günter Verheugen, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Industry, Further Improving EU-Japan Business Ties, Brussels, 8 July 2005, SPEECH/05/426 (online), available at:
  2. ^
  3. ^ S. Ghaussy (1998), Japan and the European Union, (online) available at:
  4. ^ Axel Berkofsky (2012) EU-Japan relations from 2001 to today: achievements, failures and
    • prospects, Japan Forum, 24:3, 265-288, DOI: 10.1080/09555803.2012.699453
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ J.Corwin, R. Puckett, (2009)Japan’s Manufacturing Competitiveness Strategy: Challenges for Japan, Opportunities for the United States, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, (online), available at:
  9. ^ sector.
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  20. ^ Speech by Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, “The EU and Japan – working together”,SPEECH/01/337
  21. ^