Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

EU-Japan ICT Cooperation – joining forces for the Future Internet

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EU-Japan efforts on developing the next generation networks have come a long way. Following annual symposia and workshops discussing both policy and research, 2012 brought the first joint research projects designing new technologies for the future networked society.
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The future of telecommunications and computing will see a world of fully interconnected users and devices, requiring more efficient technology able to overcome booming traffic or security issues. Key ICT drivers need common global standards to ensure (optical and wireless) seamless communications, common ways to store and access information and computing power (‘cloud computing’), sensing the world at large (‘Internet of Things’, IoT) and to ensure the highest security and energy efficiency standards.

Europe acknowledges Japan's role in the global ICT industry and already prides on successful cooperation, as both regions previously agreed to support the same 3G standard. Several Japanese companies have long had subsidiaries in Europe, facilitating cooperation. What is more, European research centres such as VTT (Finland), iMinds (Belgium), CEA-Leti (France) and Fraunhofer (Germany)  have established ties with Japan.

ICT Japan-EU dialogue

We set up the EU-Japan ICT Dialogue in collaboration with the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) to discuss ICT policy issues.  This lead to the first ICT EU-Japan Symposium held in 2008, also involving the Japanese National Institute of ICT (NICT). The three institutions focused on next generation networks and future Internet research, identifying common objectives for future research.

In May 2012, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes met with the Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr Tatsuo Kawabata, to reaffirm their close partnership in the area of ICT.  They particularly discussed Internet policies, Internet security, cloud computing, safer Internet for children, cooperation on ICT R&D and healthy ageing

This meeting, placed in the larger context of the ICT Japan-EU dialogue, set ground for the first ICT Japan-EU coordinated call published in October 2012. The Call focused on generic ICT topics: wireless communications, optical networks, cyber security, cloud computing/IoT, federated test beds and green networking. It stands out as a milestone, as the first 6 research projects were officially announced in July at an inaugural July event in Tokyo. Their work is to design network and computing technologies for the next generation of telecommunications and cloud-based services beyond 2020. The projects will receive around €18m in funding, and touch on challenges such as cyber security, network capacity, storage, high density data traffic and energy efficiency (IP/13/646).

The April 2013 EU-Japan R&D workshop held in Brussels was meant to strengthen the first cooperation efforts and explore future common objectives in the area of Network Technologies.