EU Institute in Japan
The EUIJ is an academic centre of studies and research on the European Union in Japan. It is sponsored by the European Commission and managed by a consortium of four Tokyo universities, comprising of Hitotsubashi University, International Christian University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and Tsuda College.
The EUIJ's main purpose is to establish EU-related study and research opportunities, to provide information about the EU, and to enhance the general awareness of the EU and its policies in Japan.
To achieve these goals, the EUIJ offers EU-related courses and lectures leading to a "Certificate in EU Studies" for students, and seminars, workshops and symposiums as well as information resources on the EU for scholars and a broader public. The EUIJ provides scholarships for research opportunities in Europe and invites scholars from Europe.
Inauguration Ceremony on June 22, 2004
On 22 June 2004, the "EU Institute in Japan (EUIJ) - Tokyo Consortium" celebrated its inauguration in attendance of Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, and a number of other illustrious guests. The first EU Institute in Japan was initiated by the European Commission. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony After its start for a preperatory period of 6 months on 1st April and after a first academic inauguration event on 22 April, Mr. Prodi's visit to Japan in order to attend the 13th EU-Japan Summit gave the opportunity for a first public presentation of the main goals of the institute. More than 200 invited guests from the academic community, from business as well as from public and private sectors relating to the EU - among others ambassadors of all 25 EU member states - joined the inauguration ceremony, which took place at Tokyo's Palace Hotel.
Prof. Ishi, president of Hitotsubshi University, opend the ceremony with a welcome speech in the name of the four consortium universities: Hitotsubashi University, International Christian University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and Tsuda College.
Then President Prodi gave an outline of the reasons for the European Commission's commitment in this project: "Among the vast majority of Japanese people, there is still little awareness of the European Union as a political and economic entity - despite the fact that the Union is the second market for Japanese exports, the third source of imports and the foremost partner in terms of direct investment." Therefore, Mr. Prodi concluded, the EU Institute in Japan was established to pursue the goals of the joint Action Plan, called "Shaping our common future", adopted at the EU-Japan Summit in Brusses in 2001, which had "ushered in a new decade of cooperation between Japan and the European Union". Mr. Prodi continued: "Mutual awareness must be raised and knowledge increased. We want to foster education, research and outreach activities that focus on matters relating to the European Union."
Mr. Prodi emphasised in his speech that special attention had to be given to the students, the main addressees of the EU Institute, who he called "our special 'goodwill ambassadors'. Ribbon Cutting CeremonyWe want as many Japanese students as possible to learn about Europe and the European Union during their normal studies - not just when they specialise in European studies", Mr. Prodi added. Later Mr. Prodi had a lively discussion with a group of students of the consortium universities.
Further speeches were held by Senior Vice Minister Masatoshi Abe of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senior Vice Minister Shinya Ono of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and Mr. Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).
The event's highlight was the ribbon cutting ceremony, by which President Prodi together with the other speakers, the four presidents of the consortium, Mr. Zepter, Ambassador of the European Union, and Mr. Hata, former Prime Minister (present member of EU-Japan MP Association), formally gave birth to the first EU Institute in Japan.