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Covid-19 strengthens EU-Japan research ties<p>Japan and the EU strengthen cooperation in science, technology and innovation with a Letter of Intent and agree to join efforts in combating Covid-19.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">On 26 May, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, <a title="EC press release" href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_942" target="_blank">met</a> with the European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, President of the European Council in a leaders video conference. The high-level meeting, which takes place regularly, evolved around discussions on the current Covid-19 pandemic. The leaders expressed their sympathy with the victims and reaffirmed their commitment to continue tackling global challenges together based on the strong EU-Japan relations. To prevent future pandemics, it will be important to strengthen preparedness and response capacities. These include funding for developing and deploying effective antiviral medicine, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. In this context, the leaders also welcomed the pledging initiative of the “Global Coronavirus Response” started by von der Leyen on 4 May, where Japan contributed. An important building block towards the aims of the pledging initiative is cooperation in science, technology and innovation.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">On the side of the leaders meeting, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel held a <a title="EC press release" href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/eu-and-japan-step-cooperation-science-technology-and-innovation-2020-may-26_en" target="_blank">dialogue</a> with her Japanese counterpart Naokazu Takemoto, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy. Their exchange resulted in a Letter of Intent to strengthen cooperation in science, technology and innovation and to enhance the synergies between the next EU research and innovation framework programme, Horizon Europe, and <a title="Moonshot webpage" href="https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/moonshot3.pdf" target="_blank">Moonshot</a>, Japan’s research and development programme. The synergies will facilitate the cooperation of researchers on global challenges such as health, climate change, digital transition, ageing societies, and notably the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A closer cooperation between the EU and Japan in science and technology and within Horizon Europe was already at the heart of discussions in last year’s meeting between Gabriel’s predecessor Carlos Moedas and Japan’s Science Minister Takuya Hirai (see SwissCore <a title="SwissCore article" href="https://www.swisscore.org/Pages/Detail.aspx?CrmId=%7b1E7D3B40-DA7A-E911-80D6-005056B7191C%7d&ContentType=scArticle">article</a>). Both parties can look back at a long tradition of science, technology and innovation cooperation. They signed a science and technology agreement in 2009, and have since been holding regular joint committee meetings. In addition, EU-Japan cooperation within Horizon 2020 is the closest with a third country amounting to 163 successful Japanese participations in 130 funded projects. Strategic areas of cooperation include climate change, smart cities, artificial intelligence, quantum technology and open science.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p>Covid-19, Japan, moonshot programme, Horizon Europe, international cooperationhttps://www.swisscore.org/Lists/Public/Article/DispForm.aspx?ID=12652020-05-25T22:00:00ZscArticle{4C69DBB4-1FA0-EA11-80D9-005056B7191C}https://www.swisscore.org/Lists/Public/ArticleImages/EUJapan.jpg, https://www.swisscore.org/Lists/Public/ArticleImages/EUJapan.jpg