An Introduction to the Japan-EU Digital Partnership

Both the EU and Japan recognise the crucial role of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) and its associated technologies in promoting economic growth and innovation, recovering from COVID-19, and addressing climate change and social problems.

To advance cooperation in the digital field, the EU and Japan released a joint statement to launch the Japan-EU Digital Partnership during the 28th Japan-EU Summit held in Tokyo, Japan. This article summarises key points from the joint statement.

Partnering to Develop Human-centric and Sustainable Digital Societies

The joint statement highlights the commitment by the EU and Japan to an inclusive, sustainable, and positive human-centric digital transformation of society and economy, guided by democratic values and respect for universal human rights.

It addresses the digital transformation in four key areas: infrastructure, technical skills, businesses, and public services. It will reinforce high standards for privacy and security, seeking to facilitate free circulation of data and improve the trust of consumers and businesses in digital technologies.

The EU and Japan will commit to enacting their vision globally and engage in human-centric digitalisation initiatives through bilateral efforts and multilateral engagement in forums such as the G7, the OECD, and the WTO.

Establishing the Japan-EU Digital Partnership

The Japan-EU Digital Partnership will designate and hold an annual ministry-level assembly (“the Japan-EU Digital Partnership Council”) which will be responsible for monitoring the progress of the joint project and planning the next steps.

As the collaborative framework for the digital sector within EU and Japan, the Japan-EU Digital Partnership will prepare deliverables, leveraging existing dialogue frameworks such as the bilateral Digital Policy Dialogues, the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Industrial Dialogue, and the Cybersecurity Dialogue. Multi-stakeholder involvement and synergies are central to the approach of the Digital Partnership.

Initial Joint Actions

The Japan-EU Digital Partnership will focus on the following digital areas:

(i) privacy,
(ii) the resilience of the global semiconductor supply chain,
(iii) 5G and Beyond 5G technologies,
(iv) High Performance Computing (HPC) and Quantum Computing technologies,
(v) cybersecurity,
(vi) artificial intelligence,
(vii) digital connectivity,
(viii) online platform cooperation,
(ix) data and trust technology solutions (including DFTT),
(x) digital trade,
(xi) digital transformation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),
(xii) international standards and norms, and
(xiii) digital education and skills.

The initial list of designated areas will be regularly reviewed by the Japan-EU Digital Partnership Council.

The Digital Partnership demonstrates the ambition of the EU and Japan to leverage existing frameworks and pursue global partnerships to advance the digitalisation of society. Japan is the first country with which the EU has finalised a Digital Partnership.