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Research and innovation
News article26 May 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

EU and Japan step up cooperation in science, technology and innovation

European and Japanese researchers and innovators will be able to cooperate more easily on global challenges such as health, climate change, digital transition and ageing societies, and to coordinate their efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Naokazu Takemoto, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, agreed to step up EU-Japan cooperation in the context of the Japan-EU Leaders Videoconference Meeting. They signed a Letter of Intent to strengthen cooperation in science, technology and innovation, and to enhance the synergies between the next EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe, and Moonshot, Japan’s research and development programme.

Commissioner Gabriel said:

“Japan is one of our key partners. I am therefore extremely happy to have signed, together with Minister Takemoto, this Letter of Intent to strengthen our existing cooperation in science, technology and innovation. The coronavirus crisis has shown that cooperation at international level in research and innovation is more than ever necessary, including through open access to data and results.”

The letter underlines the paramount importance of a coordinated research and innovation response to the coronavirus outbreak and future pandemics, including through open access to research data and results. EU and Japan are key partners in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak. On 4 May, the EU with several partners kicked off the Global Response pledging marathon to ensure collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus. Japan co-chaired the event and contributed by pledging over €760 million.


Japan is one of the EU’s closest and like-minded partners in research and innovation cooperation. This letter is based on the on the 2011 Japan-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement and is a key element of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), provisionally applied since 1 February 2019. Under Horizon 2020, EU’s current research and innovation programme, Japanese entities have participated 163 times in 130 signed grants in strategic areas of cooperation such as climate change, smart cities, artificial intelligence, quantum technology, and open science.

EU’s and Japan’s new research and innovation programmes (future Horizon Europe and Moonshot) present opportunities to enhance such cooperation, including on pandemics. To face the spreading of the coronavirus the EU is intensifying its global efforts, joining forces with partner countries to find solutions, and maximizing access to the latest scientific knowledge and international value chains.

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Publication date
26 May 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation