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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland
  • VISEGRAD GROUP AND JAPAN

  • Visegrad initiative

     

     

    The Visegrad Group (also known as the "Visegrad Four" or simply "V4") reflects the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest within the all-European integration. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have always been part of a single civilization sharing cultural and intellectual values and common roots in diverse religious traditions, which they wish to preserve and further strengthen.

     

    All the V4 countries aspired to become members of the European Union, perceiving their integration in the EU as another step forward in the process of overcoming artificial dividing lines in Europe through mutual support. They reached this aim in 2004 (1st May) when they all became members of the EU.

     

    The V4 was not created as an alternative to the all-European integration efforts, nor does it try to compete with the existing functional Central European structures. Its activities are in no way aimed at isolation or the weakening of ties with the other countries. On the contrary the Group aims at encouraging optimum cooperation with all countries, in particular its neighbours, its ultimate interest being the democratic development in all parts of Europe.

     

    See also: http://www.msz.gov.pl/en/foreign_policy/europe/visegrad_group/

     

    Visegrad Group and Japan cooperation framework

     

    The cooperation between V4 countries and Japan started in 2004, the year when the four countries entered European Union.

     

    Both sides recognize a great importance of cooperation in this format with particular emphasis on issues related to the UN reform, climate change, the global economic crisis, and cooperation in the field of development assistance. The list of promising subjects for further cooperation includes actions towards countries of Eastern Partnership region.

     

    V4 countries and Japan have significant convergence of views on the most important issues of global and regional problems. Although there are some differences in their positions on some issues,  they are not considered as a barrier in political relations.

     

    While sharing the universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law and working together on various international issues as equal partner, the V4 states and Japan have reached to a new dimension described as Partnership based on common values. To underline the strong bonds of cooperation developed during recent decade and to further strengthen their close ties, both sides agreed to designate the year of 2014 as the V4+Japan Exchange Year.

     

    1. Forms of dialogue and cooperation in the V4 + Japan format

    The main pillars of the V4+Japan cooperation are meetings of foreign ministers and political directors of the V4 countries and Japan.

     

    In 2009, during a meeting in Hanoi, ministers of foreign affairs of the V4 countries and Japan reaffirmed the importance of cooperation in this format, expressed their satisfaction with the existing form of dialogue, and expressed their willingness to strengthen and expand mutual relations.  Development assistance and S&T (especially in the area of environmental technologies) were recognized as particularly prospective cooperation fields.

     

    The main topic of the meeting in Budapest (2011) was the prospect of opening negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement between European Union and Japan. In addition, a prospect for bilateral cooperation with a focus on issues such as energy efficiency and development of renewable energies were discussed during the assembly.

     

    Meetings of political directors of the V4 + Japan have been held annually in Tokyo or in the capitals of the V4 presidencies (February 2010 in Tokyo; December 2010 in Bratislava; December 2011 in Tokyo).

     

    Besides the dialogue at the senior official level, cooperation between the V4 states and Japan takes also the form of open workshops dedicated to subjects of common interests, such as development cooperation (ODA), climate and environmental issues, S&T, or small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). So far, the following workshops or seminars were organized in the V4+Japan framework, both in Japan and Europe:

     

    • 2007/2008 (CZ presidency): workshop on ODA and development assistance policy (Tokyo)
    • 2008/2009 (PL presidency): workshop on SMEs (Tokyo); seminar on introduction of EURO in V4 states (Tokyo).
    • 2009/2010 (HU presidency): workshop on environment and climate change (Tokyo); financial seminar (Budapest);
    • 2010/2011 (SK presidency): workshop on energy efficiency and renewable energy (cancelled due to the earthquake)
    • 2011/2012 (CZ presidency): workshop on energy efficiency and renewable energy (Tokyo)
    • 2012/2013 (PL presidency): seminar on Eastern Partnership (Tokyo)
    • 2013/2014 (HU presidency): seminar on security (Tokyo)

     

    1. V4 presidencies and Japan – key projects and events

    2008/2009 Poland

    One of the most important initiatives of the Polish Presidency was the idea of “Green Visegrad +Japan” aiming to promote cooperation between national agencies responsible for promotion of energy efficiency. This initiative was an important subject of discussions on different levels in the V4+Japan format, and met with great interest on the Japanese side.

     

    2009/2010 Hungary

    In October 2009, in cooperation with the Japanese Foreign Ministry, a workshop on environmental protection “The environment and climate change” was organized in Tokyo. Belarus and Ukraine were also invited to participate. In April 2012, the V4+Japan meeting on development policy was organized in Budapest.

     

    2010/2011 Slovakia

    The most important points of the cooperation during the Slovak presidency were: /1/ investment seminar of V4 in Tokyo, and /2/ workshop on SMEs in Bratislava.

     

    In December 2010, a concert was held in Tokyo Oji Hall, combined with a seminar on tourism: “V4 – meeting music of Eastern Europe”. This project was prepared by the Hungarian Presidency in collaboration with tourist promotion organizations of 4 Visegrad states. The purpose of this meeting was to promote Japanese tourism to Central Europe and to activate tourism cooperation within the V4 and Japan.

     

    Slovakian presidency planned also to organize a joint study visit of Japanese journalists (television crews) to V4 countries. However, the project was among those initiatives which were suspended or cancelled after the Great Tohoku Earthquake on March 11th, 2011.

     

    2011/2012 Czech Republic

    In April 2012, under Czech Presidency, workshops on energy efficiency, renewable energy and nuclear energy was organized in Tokyo in cooperation with the Japanese MoFA.

     

    2012/2013 Poland

    The main objective of the current Polish presidency is to create the capacity for cooperation between V4 states and Japan in the GUAM / Eastern Partnership region. A seminar, which addressed general prospects for such cooperation, was organized by the Embassy of Poland in Japan, MOFA Japan and Josai University Educational Corporation in collaboration with V4 embassies in Japan in February 2013 in Tokyo. The event was accompanied by an informal meeting during which prospective areas for the V4+Japan joint projects in Eastern Partnership countries were discussed.

     

    To promote the concept of V4+Japan cooperation in Japan, an open debate on the role of regions in modern diplomacy is to be organized by the Embassy of Poland in Japan and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. Discussion will be based on students’ presentations, providing a fresh and stimulating assessment of the V4+Japan cooperation and will involve Ambassadors of Visegrad countries in Japan, representatives of the Japanese public administration, scholars, students and media representatives. The project will be supported by Reuters Japan. GRIPS students from V4 countries and Japan will play a key role in the project.

     

    On the cultural side, Sairiusha Publishing House in co-operation with Polish Information and Cultural Centre in Tokyo will publish a book “Central European Modern Art – Poland, Czech, Slovakia and Hungary" co-authored by Professor Toshio Iguchi of Saitama University and Associate Professor Akiko Kasuya of Kyoto City University of Arts.

     

    2013/2014 Hungary

    A seminar, which addressed the issue of security in East Asia and Central Europe, was organized by the Embassy of Hungary in Tokyo, MOFA Japan and Josai University Educational Corporation in collaboration with V4 embassies in Japan, in February 2014 in Tokyo.

     

     

    1. Potential areas for cooperation
    1. Promotion of democracy, sustainable development through cooperation and exchange of experiences in ODA policy in the Eastern Partnership / GUAM countries and West Balkan
    2. Global issues: cooperation at the multilateral forums and international organizations
    3. Academic exchange: cooperation between universities, e.g. Josai University, GRIPS,
    4. Cultural exchange, e.g. film festivals, visual arts and design exhibitions, theatre performances and music concerts.

     

    V4 + Japan Exchange Year 2014

     

     

    The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group and of Japan met on 16th June 2013 in the Royal Palace in Warsaw. The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe was the special guest of the meeting. Apart from Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and the head of the Japanese government, the participants of the meeting included the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic Petr Nečas, of Hungary Viktor Orban, and of Slovakia Robert Fico.

     

    The heads of governments of the V4 and Japan discussed cooperation between the V4 and Japan and prospects for its development, the economic situation in Europe, EU-Japan relations, as well as current regional and international developments. The Prime Ministers of the V4 and Japan adopted the Joint Statement of the Visegrad Group and of Japan “Partnership based on common values for the 21st century.” 

     

    To underline the strong bonds of cooperation developed during recent decade and to further strengthen their close ties, both sides agreed to designate the year of 2014 as the V4+Japan Exchange Year.

     

    During this event, the V4+Japan Exchange Year logo was presented. It was created by Hungarian artist Sylvie Hunyadvari. The logo composes of two words V4 and Japan, in between them, instead of “plus” or a “+” sign, there is Japanese character that holds a “friend” meaning, on the other hand, dots represents particular capital cities. In that time also goodwill ambassadors who will promote Exchange Year, were designated. Anna Maria Jopek has been appointed as Polish goodwill ambassador, artist Máté Kamarás - Hungarian,  scientist Vladimír Bužek - Slovak, and artist Pavel Šporcl – Czech. Japanese goodwill ambassador became actress and pianist Nao Matsushita.

      

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