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Japanese-Serbian relations are the bilateral relations between the countries of Japan and Serbia. Both countries have first signed diplomatic missions on May 20, 1997. Japan has an embassy in Belgrade. Serbia has an embassy in Tokyo and an honorary consulate in Osaka.
In the late 19th century, Japan had emerged from a small, weak island state to the Empire, while Serbia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire and established the Kingdom of Serbia. Through the Russia, Serbia had started to set up relations with Japan. However, before 1914, both countries did not have any official relations.
Two World Wars
World War I
At World War I, after the Serbian resistance over the Austro-Hungarian Army invading Serbia, Japan announced war on the Central Powers in late 1914. From here, Japan began to send aid, materials and supplies to Serbia through the Mediterranean Sea and Russia, growing the relationship between the two countries. Japan also opposed what they called "brutal occupation" by the Austrians and Bulgarians after they invaded Serbia in 1915. After then, Japan focused actions mainly in Asia.
World War II
However, in World War II, Serbia now became Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Japan had supported Germany and its ally, making the relationship between the two drop to the lowest in the history. Yugoslav officials in Japan were expelled out of Japan, as Japan maintained part of the Axis. From there, the struggling relations between Japan and Serbia started, with much hostility between both.
Until Japan's surrender at 1945, Japan and Serbia kept a negative view.
Josip Broz Tito assumed power after the collapse of the Kingdom, quickly restored back relations with Japan, which was now on the losing side. Tito was seen as friendly and good with Japan, as Tito, unlike other Communist leaders, did not side with anyone at that time. Japan and Yugoslavia signed the first treaty of friendship in the late 1950s, and their relations were very good up until the collapse of Yugoslavia at 1991.
Trade and aid
Japan is considered one of Serbia's most important trading partners in Asia. One of the most notable interactions between the two countries took place in 2003 when Japan donated 93 city buses to the city of Belgrade.
Japanese influence on Serbian life
There are a large Serbian expats in Japan, whom most of them are football players go to Japan seek for careers. Many of Japanese also develop respects on Serbian people, as for Serbia has been seen as a good friend and further, a place where the most of brave men were born in the Balkans.
There are also few signs of Serbian appearance in Japanese social cultures such as anime and manga. The character Irina Jelavić from Assassination Classroom, is of Serbian descent. Even though Japan were ally with Croatia and Bulgaria at the World War II, and currently ally with Albania which Serbia has disputes, many of Japanese still regard Serbia as one of major ally in the region.
One of famous Serbian slogan "Srbija do Tokija" also attracts many of Japanese people on discovering Serbian history.
Despite having a relationship, Japan, however, had supported Kosovo's independence.
The most recent census data records 86 Japanese nationals living in Serbia.
In November 2003, Japanese Commercial Forum in Serbia and Montenegro is founded.