Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and Mr. Tatsuo Kawabata, Minister for Internal affairs and Communications, Japan, met in Brussels on 3 May to reaffirm their close partnership in the area of ICT. In particular, they discussed Internet policies, Internet security, cloud computing, Safer Internet for children, Cooperation on ICT R&D, and Healthy Ageing.

1  Policy issues regarding the Internet

VP Kroes and Minister Kawabata both shared the view that the Internet can be an instrumental force for democratisation processes and plays a fundamental role for sustainable economic growth and innovation. They therefore recognised the importance of working together to ensure the Internet remains a key driver of societal benefits including by

 (a) Endeavouring to ensure Internet policies are coherent and compatible at the international level so that users can enjoy the maximum benefits from the Internet, where various information such as services, contents and applications flows across borders,

 (b) Cooperating with each other to accomplish international consensus in which the free flow of information should not be unduly restricted,

2  Ensuring security and safety of Information and Communications Technology(ICT)

They both acknowledged the importance of safeguarding security and safety in Internet from threats in order to ensure a trustworthy digital environment for citizens and to address the increasing economic impact of cyber attacks, as well as ensuring the free flow of information. They recognised that international cooperation is imperative to address these issues, given the global nature of Internet threat phenomena.

Therefore, they noted the importance of increasing efforts to improve the security of the network environment through sharing good practice, jointly promoting resilience and risk management, awareness raising and engagement with the private sector as well as carrying out joint research efforts for mitigating attacks on networks and countering botnets and other forms of threats.

In addition, the Vice President and the Minister underlined the need to promote and spread international standards for exchanging Internet security information.

To further discuss these matters, they plan to hold a Japan-EU Internet security forum.

Moreover, they are both concerned about unfair market access barriers that Japanese and EU companies are confronted with due to ICT security regulations in third countries, and seek to enhance cooperation on how to combine security needs with growth and innovation.

3  Promotion of cloud computing services

VP Kroes and Minister Kawabata recognised that cloud computing technology has advantages for social and economic activities across borders, as well as for disaster management.
In this regard, they noted the success of the Japan-EU Cloud Computing Technical Seminar held in Tokyo on 19th April 2012, and welcomed the idea of holding a further meeting with more participation from the business sector.

4  Safer Internet environment for children

They also recognised the importance of promoting a safer Internet environment for children and of supporting private sector voluntary initiatives, and the need to encourage non-governmental organisations in Japan and the EU to exchange views including best practices.

5  Cooperation on research and development in the area of ICT

The Vice President and the Minister acknowledged the view that research and development in the area of ICT plays an important role for the creation of innovation and for socio-economic development. They noted they will continue to promote international joint research and development in the field of optical communications, wireless communications, Internet security and the New Generation Network (NWGN) / Future Internet through implementing a coordinated call.

6  Response to active and healthy ageing society

They both acknowledged the importance of making the most of ICT for achieving an active and healthy ageing society, and underlined the need to further discuss ICT's contribution to address problems of rapidly ageing society which include remote medical and social care, extended independent living and active ageing, standardisation and accessible solutions.