We are valuable partners that share their fundamental values, like democracy and human rights. Our relationship, spanning more than 100 years, is marked by support and a long tradition of friendship. Today, Japan and Czech Republic are strong allies in tackling various agendas on the world stage.
Our cooperation with the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) and its key priorities of political unity against the Russian aggression in Ukraine, promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, and addressing climate change through green diplomacy, is of critical importance for the international community.
The Indo-Pacific Strategy that the Czech Republic has adopted in trying to build relations with India and the ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is very positive and could be the base for further cooperation with Japan for realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Czech Republic and Japan both share the same objective of achieving a carbon-neutral society by 2050. We must work together to face challenges like the energy crisis in the world and find strategies to deal with. Potentiality of Japan-Czech technological cooperation lies for example in hydrogen or small modular nuclear reactors.
The success of our industrial partnership with the Czech Republic is well known beyond its borders. A large portion of the products that are manufactured by more than 270 Japanese companies in the Czech Republic are exported to other European countries, like Germany, France and others.
There is a saying that Czech people have golden hands and I believe this is true. Their skill and craftsmanship have also made them very good at manufacturing – something many Japanese companies here in the Czech Republic really appreciate.
Recent challenges to the supply chain have made it clearer that a strategic location is essential to stay competitive. Czech Republic’s location at the geographical center of Europe, gives it a real advantage as a transport and logistics hub in the region.
Furthermore, being part of the European Union, part of the Schengen area and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Czech Republic offers the political and economic stability that foreign investors are looking for.
On the agroindustry front, the Czech Republic is one of the biggest producers of hops in the world. Many of the beer producers in Japan rely on Czech hops for their products. In the 1970’s Sapporo helped the hop producing town of Žatec overcome a crop disease that could have wiped out their entire production. It remains to be one of the world’s most important hop producing regions today.
And thanks to the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, the export of Czech wines to Japan doubled in 2021 compared to the previous year as more and more Japanese consumers are discovering their quality.
The richness of the cultural heritage in Czech Republic is beyond comparison. Beyond the many sights, the entertainment from world-class orchestras and concerts, the thriving food and beverage scene and the quality wines from South Moravia all attract millions of international tourists a year.
But the cultural exchange is both ways. It’s amazing to see the great interest in Japanese culture from the Czech people. Japanese martial arts, calligraphy, tea ceremonies, ikebana, and even thetraditional comical theatre production called kyogen, is practiced at a very high level by many in the Czech Republic.
To enhance such people to people exchange, a direct flight between Japan and Czech Republic is being awaited to further increase cooperation and we are now in negotiations for an agreement between Japan and the Czech Republic for Air Services.
We are pleased about the Czech Republic’s participation in Expo 2025 in Osaka and will work closely together to make sure it will be a splendid experience. I hope this would be another occasion for the Japanese to know more about the Czech Republic and to encourage more Czech people to travel to Japan.
The trust that the Czech Republic and Japan have built on each other is extremely important for long-term business resilience. I hope we continue to build upon this trust and friendship as we fight for humanity and face future economic and environmental challenges together.