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Scientific and technical cooperation between the European Union and Japan

Cooperation between the European Union and Japan has been growing steadily in selected fields of science and technology, such as thermonuclear fusion, nuclear fission, environmental sciences and the exchanges of research fellows.

Commissioner Ruberti, who will visit Japan on ...
Cooperation between the European Union and Japan has been growing steadily in selected fields of science and technology, such as thermonuclear fusion, nuclear fission, environmental sciences and the exchanges of research fellows.

Commissioner Ruberti, who will visit Japan on 8-10 June 1994, will contribute to this cooperation by inaugurating the work of the Euro-Japanese Science and Technology Forum. This Forum, established in October 1993, will allow regular high-level consultations between the EU and Japan to provide a fuller understanding of each other's science policies and of the measures taken to implement them as well as promote cooperation on every aspect of science and technology.

Current scientific and technological cooperation between the EU and Japan focuses on the following:

- In the field of thermonuclear fusion, the EU and Japan are participating, alongside the USA and Russia, in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) programme, begun in 1988.

- In the field of biology, the EU and Japan, together with the other G7 members, are involved in the Human Frontier Science Programme (HFSP). This was instigated by Japan to foster international cooperation on research into the brain, molecular mechanisms and biological functions in order to gain a clearer picture of the complex mechanisms at work in living organisms. The Commission will continue to participate in this programme in the years ahead, under the specific programme on biotechnology in the Community's Fourth Framework Programme of RTD activities.

- In the field of industrial production systems, the European Union is studying the results of a feasibility study completed in January 1994 before deciding on the principle of joining Japan, the USA, Canada, Australia and the EFTA countries in the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) programme.

- In 1986 the Commission launched a highly successful grant scheme to enable young European research scientists to spend a long period in Japanese universities, national institutes or industrial laboratories. Since 1988 they have been joined by young researchers participating in the Science and Technology Agency's (STA) grant scheme. In addition to the professional and personal enrichment derived by the young researchers, these exchanges are a key factor in the development of lasting, more balanced scientific and technological relations with Japan. They are also an irreplaceable source of information for a fuller knowledge of the organization and quality of each side's R&D activities.

- In addition to these exchanges, there are various other forms of bilateral cooperation between the EU and Japan in specific fields of science.

- On the subject of nuclear energy, the Community is collaborating with the Japanese Atomic Energy Research Institution (JAERI) on nuclear materials safeguards and with the Radiation Research Foundation on radiation protection.

- On energy and the environment, the Community is participating in joint workshops with AIST and NEDO (bodies under MITI) on measures to minimize the impact of CO2 and on advanced catalysis processes for combustion and is conducting exchanges with the Environment Agency on CH2 and N2O. The Commission and Japan are also in regular contact to coordinate international research on global climate change.

- Concerning collaboration with MITI, the Commission is providing support for the "Company of the future" project in which European and Japanese research centres cooperate on methods of managing R&D in information technology companies.

- The different institutes of the Community's Joint Research Centre (JRC) have joined their Japanese counterparts in a number of research activities in addition to those mentioned above.

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  • Japan
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