Last week was Japan week for us. Several events took place showing the depth and breadth of EU-Japan cooperation in the development of the digital economy and society.

On 29th November a workshop on "Understanding the Human Brain - a New Era of Big (Neuro) science" took place at the European Parliament in Brussels. The workshop presented an overview of the EU Human Brain Project, the US BRAIN Initiative, and the Japan Brain/MINDS initiative. As mentioned by Roberto Viola in his blogpost, this event underlined the importance of closer cooperation on neuromorphic computing, where we have complementary expertise. On 30th November, the EU and Japan met for the 4th time to discuss Digital Strategies. Various stakeholders from Japan and EU  exchanged views on the EU Digital Single Market initiative and Japan's ICT policy initiatives.

To mark my first day as Deputy Director-General of DG CONNECT on 1st December, I had the honour to co-chair with Vice-Minister Suzuki from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communication (MIC) the 22nd EU-Japan ICT Dialogue.  This meeting is part of a regular and very fruitful policy and research dialogue between European Commission and the MIC.

We talked about the successful G7 ICT Ministerial meeting held last April in Takamatsu in Japan. I am looking forward to the G7 and G20 Presidencies of Italy and Germany respectively, in both of which the digital economy & society will feature heavily.

On the development of Internet of things, we agreed with our Japanese colleagues that we would like to see more cooperation on interoperability, security, testing & standardisation. Both sides agreed that we should strengthen the links between EU and Japan IoT industrial associations.  Likewise on the development of the 5th generation of electronic communications (5G), a key achievement is the establishment of a Joint Working Group to cover the non-research issues of the Joint Declaration and in particular standards and spectrum.

Cooperation in research is progressing well between EU and Japan and we reviewed the 3 running EU-Japan Coordinated Calls on 5G, IoT, optical & wireless communications, big data, cloud computing.

We also addressed the evolution of the EU's and Japan's policy and regulatory frameworks for electronic communications. This includes consumer protection and safer internet environment for children, as well as filtering models for protecting children online.

The EU and Japan both face the issue of an ageing population and we need to make the most of ICT for active and healthy ageing. The results achieved by the first Joint Call provide a solid basis for further work on this in the 2nd joint call, which we are preparing now. In this respect, the Global Innovation Forum on Active and Healthy Ageing taking place on Monday 5th December in Brussels will involve experts and stakeholders from Europe, Japan, and other countries. Finally, we exchanged views on EU and Japanese policies looking at how Artificial Intelligence can continue to provide benefits for our society. They are set out in the AI R&D Guidelines, which will be discussed at the March 2017 AI International Symposium in Japan.

We concluded with an understanding that the EU & Japan share common values and that we will continue to work closely together, both bilaterally and as part of the G7 and G20.