The mission of the EU-Japan Centre, a non-profit organization, is to enhance all forms of industrial, trade and investment cooperation between Japan and the EU, and to strengthen the technological capabilities and the competitiveness of the European and Japanese industrial systems. The Centre was founded with a view to contributing to industrial cooperation between the Community and Japan, as specified in the Council Decision which constitutes the Centre’s legal basis.
The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation provides support to European companies through management training programmes held in Japan and covering a range of topics like “the latest developments in cost-efficient production techniques” and “how to succeed in doing business in Japan”. They are typically aimed at European Business Executives and usually last from 1 to 4 weeks. The EU-Japan Centre is trying to foster cooperation in research & innovation between the EU and Japan. The Business Programmes offered by the Centre are:
The Human Resources Training Programme-Japan Industry Insight is a 4/5-week training programme in Japan for EU Managers. The programme is directed at company managers (from small, medium or large enterprises) who wish to learn more about Japanese management practices and to gain a deeper insight into the Japanese business environment.
5-day training course in Japan for EU managers working for manufacturing companies. The WCM programme, active since 1992 and consisting of 2 editions per year, is directed to both SMEs and larger companies. It proposes Japan as a model of excellence in cost-efficient production techniques and lean manufacturing, see kaizen.
“Competitiveness for Internationalisation” enables EU companies (SMEs and other) to visit leading European factories to see world-class principles in action and to encourage them to adopt best practice techniques. By becoming more efficient, they will be better placed to develop their international activities.
These one-day visits take place in different locations around the EU and will include lectures, shop-floor visits, coaching and detailed explanations. These visits will be open to all, but priority is given to SMEs. Seeing is believing: through the plant tour and discussions, SMEs will be inspired to continue along or begin improvement activities.
Since 2012, the EU Japan Centre has organised cluster match-making missions in Japan. The Commission (DG Enterprise) has been developing new policies aimed at internationalizing SMEs through Clusters and has tasked the EU-Japan Centre's to support European clusters and their member SMEs in entering the Japanese market and establishing technology or business partnerships. The Centre's first Cluster Support Mission in 2012 targeted the Clean technologies sector, while the Biotech sector was targeted in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, however, the scope expanded and three Cluster support missions were organized for the biotech, nanotech and ICT sectors. The Cluster Support Missions generally last around a week and take place in Japan, targeting Clusters and their member SMEs in the related field. The mission's objective is to increase SMEs innovation capacity and enhance their competitiveness on the global market. The cooperation between EU and Japanese clusters is another key point of this programme.
The Enterprise Europe Network is the largest network in Europe providing support for SMEs in the field of international business cooperation. This service is targeted at SMEs wishing to expand business to another country by finding competent partners. The network consists of over 600 organizations (chambers of commerce, regional development agencies etc.) located in 52 countries worldwide. 'GOING INTERNATIONAL' consists of a platform/search tool promoting and disseminating the profiles of SMEs worldwide. The EU-Japan Centre facilitates access to this platform for EU SMEs wishing to find business partners in Japan.
The Step in Japan scheme is a landing pad for EU-based SMEs interested in entering into or expanding within Japan. Step in Japan offers free support for EU SMEs, granting free business facilities (offices, meeting rooms, internet and phone) and free assistance with the Enterprise Europe Network's Business Matching Platform.
The EU-Japan Centre is developing a platform (to be launched in January 2014) providing business information to the public, in accordance with the project of the Directorate-General for Enterprise & Industry of the European Commission.
Keys to Japan is a new European Commission-funded initiative, managed by the EU-Japan Centre to help selected European SMEs considering marketing a product or service in Japan by developing a detailed and personalised market entry plan for them. The cost of each plan will be covered by the EU-Japan Centre. Each plan is worth €10,000 and will be prepared by JMEC.
3 plans will be offered each year: 1 plan is reserved for a market entry plan covering end-user applications or receiver technology using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); the other 2 plans can be for any relevant industrial or consumer product or service.
The Vulcanus in Europe programme was established in 1996 as part of EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation. It is an industry-oriented one-year student exchange programme for Japanese students. Vulcanus offers placements in EU host companies active in the industrial sector. All EU companies in the industrial sector are eligible and the trainees are chosen from Japan's best students, either undergraduates in their third or fourth year or postgraduates following a course in engineering, architecture or sciences. The trainees are offered a four-month intensive language course before starting the traineeship. The traineeship lasts 8 months, in which both the host company and the trainee have a win-win situation: the company can get more familiar with the Japanese way of working and the trainee gets valuable work experience and a deeper understanding of the European business environment.
The Vulcanus in Japan programme was established one year later, in 1997, and proposes the same traineeship conditions for EU students in Japan. The students are offered industrial placements within Japanese host companies. A four-month Japanese language course is also provided.
The EU enhances R&D activities in a wide range of scientific disciplines through the FP7 financial tool, the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development (RTD) and demonstration activities (FP7). A 3-year project, J-BILAT, was funded in 2010 by DG RTD of the European Commission. J-BILAT's main objective is to foster the participation of the Japanese research community in the EU 7th Research Framework Programme and to assist in the implementation of the EU-Japan Science and Technology Agreement. A new project, JEUPISTE, was founded in September 2013 to contribute to the reinforcement of the Europe-Japan cooperation for 3 years;
The GNSS.Asia project has been developed in order to facilitate EU-Asia cooperation on satellite navigation applications. Receiving funds from the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), GNSS.Asia has the objective of developing and enhancing GNSS industrial cooperation activities between the EU and China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Taiwan, with a special focus on the downstream sector (applications and receivers).
Regional clusters recognise an increasing need for internationalisation, both in Europe and in Japan. They aim at widening both their network and their know-how, in order to gain international weight and visibility. In this context, the EU-Japan Centre provides a helpdesk service supporting EU and Japanese clusters in their search for partners overseas.
The Enterprise Europe Network consists of over 600 organizations located in 52 countries worldwide It is the largest network in Europe providing support for SMEs in the fields of innovation, knowledge and technology transfer and cooperation. It is targeted at SMEs wishing to share cutting-edge knowledge/solutions with other competent business partners. The EEN platform/search tool promotes and disseminates worldwide the profiles of SMEs and their innovative high-tech solutions. The EU-Japan Centre facilitates access to this platform for EU SMEs interested in partnering with Japan.
The NCP offers support for researchers, research organizations, and SMEs in their participation in Horizon 2020. It also serves as a contact point for bilateral information exchanges in innovation, science and technology research activities in EU and Japan.
The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation organises seminars/workshops in Europe and Japan on issues of interest to both European and Japanese industry and often addressing key policy issues for the EU and Japanese Authorities. As well as addressing policy issues, these events also showcase European and Japanese case studies and provide a forum for dialogue between industry, policymakers and other parties. In recent years, the seminars have covered a range of issues including:Free Trade
Energy, environment and climate change.
The seminars and workshops cover a wide variety of topics and are organised in conjunction with other organisations including think-tanks, academic organisations, EU institutions such as the European Economic and Social Committee and government bodies such as Enterprise Ireland.
The EU-Japan Centre acts as the Secretariat for the annual EU-Japan Business Round Table, which is a meeting between CEOs and senior executives of some 40 leading EU and Japanese firms, where they discuss factors affecting all aspects of business cooperation between the EU and Japan, and then issue policy recommendations to the European Commission and Japanese Government. Subsequently, the European Commission and Japanese Government issue Progress Reports every year in order to assess to what extent the recommendations from the Round Table have been considered or implemented. The Business Round Table is very useful, since it provides the EU and the Japanese authorities with an in-depth perspective of the major issues faced by companies in Japan and Europe.
Minerva is a 6 month in-house fellowship scheme in Japan designed for EU and Japanese scholars, trade/economic analysts and civil servants, with the aim of supporting the development of new perspectives on EU-Japan trade relations, economic and industrial issues through their research.