Japan and the European Union: A Partnership for the by Julie Gilson (auth.)

By Julie Gilson (auth.)

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This approach involved several rounds of bilateral talks and led to Foreign Minister Ohira’s subsequent European tour from 26 September 1962. 22 Thus, it seemed for a time that the EC had come to be recognized as a legitimate negotiating partner for Japan. However, by 1963 this more assertive action towards Europe had lost momentum, since the safeguards clause was still in place and the UK’s bid for EEC membership had fallen through. In addition, the opposition Socialists in Japan had become more and more critical of the government’s pro-Western policy.

EC member states (which from 1973 included the UK, Denmark and Ireland) became more and more united in their criticisms of Japanese trading practices. They were deeply concerned about the widening trade gap, and in particular the rapid rise of Japanese exports to Europe of television sets, radios, automobiles and ships. Tension remained throughout the decade and was highlighted by the criticisms which dogged the so-called Doko Mission’s visit to Europe in October 1976. Doko Toshio, then president of Keidanren, faced united European criticism in the five major problem sectors of steel, ships, home electronics, bearings and cars and, according to the Commission, was forced to recognize the need to ‘redress the growing imbalance’.

What is more, the fact that the United Kingdom seemed likely to join the EC after July 1961 made the Japanese keen to address broader European issues while completing bilateral negotiations on a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with the UK. The UK eventually withdrew its application of Article 35 against Japan in 1963 after successfully concluding this treaty, which itself contained two safeguard clauses. 21 When France ended its use of Article 35 against Japan in the following year it was with the same conditions as the UK had received.

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