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EIJS History



The Inauguration of the European Institute of Japanese Studies at the Stockholm of Economics on 25 September 1992 marked the first major establishment in Europe of an Institute dedicated to the in-depth analysis of Japanese business and economic affairs. The opening ceremony speeches were given by the late HRH Prince Bertil, then Prime Minister Mr. Carl Bildt, and the Ambassador of Japan to Sweden Mr. Naohiro Kumagai.

The Institute has been created on the basis of an endowment raised from the Swedish government and private corporations and from Japanese corporations and individuals.

The Institute aims to be a major centre of excellence in research and education on the Japanese economy and business, their impact on the world economy, and especially in regard to Euro-Japanese relations. The Euro-Japanese relationship has often been described as the weak link in the world economy. Thus a major goal of the Institute is to fill the Euro-Japanese “knowledge gap” and thereby to provide the means for European and Japanese current and future decision makers and opinion leaders to learn more about and from each other.   


On the 17-19 March, 1995 EIJS inaugurates the first of a series of roundtable meetings on International Economic Organisation in the Post-Uruguay Round Era at the Hotel Royal in Evian-les-Bains.


The EIJS Tokyo Office was inaugurated in September 1997. Tokyo Office Opening Reception was held on 6 October 1997 at Imperial Hotel and over 120 participated from both Swedish and Japanese industries, embassies and academia. Since then, the activities of the office have been supported by the Embassy of Sweden, Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Japan (SCCJ), European industries in Tokyo and some of Japanese industries.


The 6th International Conference on Japanese Information in Science, Technology, Commerce & Education (JOHO 6) was held in Stockholm, Sweden 1-3 September 1999, hosted by the European Institute of Japanese Studies (EIJS) and the Stockholm School of Economics. Approximately 150 delegates came to Sweden from all over the world. It was a fine opportunity to learn about new research & techniques, to have a bit of fun, and to meet new contacts. The chief concern of the conference was information flow involving Japan.


Symposium on the New Global Financial Challenge: Euro-Yen-US Dollar On 13 October 1999, the European Institute of Japanese Studies, Global Industrial Social Progress Research Institute (GISPRI) and the Institute for International Monetary Affairs (IIMA) hosted a symposium at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo entitled the "New Global Financial Challenge: Euro-Yen-US Dollar." With former Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Helmut Schmidt as keynote speaker.


On Tuesday, 30 May 2000, Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan, accompanied by Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, visited The European Institute of Japanese Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics during the Imperial couple's three-day state visit to Sweden.


On 19 March 2002, EIJS and Institute of World Economy hosted a symposium at Hotel Okura in Tokyo under the topic of "Impediments to Growth in Japan" with Prof. R. Glenn Hubbard, Chairman of U.S. President's Council of Economic Advisers as the keynote speaker and the panel consisting of Prof. Mitsuhiro Fukao, Professor, Facult of Business & Commerce, Keio University and Prof. Magnus Blomström, President, EIJS. Over 150 participants from government ministries, embassies, representatives of both European and Japanese industries and journalists attended the symposium and it was broad casted in the evening news of Television Tokyo on March 19.


Mr. Carl Bildt visited Tokyo from Monday, September 29 to Thursday, October 2. The highligt of the visit was a symposium on "The Future of Europe" here he made keynote speech in Marubiru Hall. The symposium was organized by EIJS and Institute of World Economy and supported by
Mitsubishi Estate Co., LTd. Approx. 160 persons participated in the symposium.

WORKSHOP, 17-19 June 2005

The workshop 'Forging Partnership? A Comparative Study of Institutional Responses to Nordic and Japanese Aid in Asia' was held in Stockholm. It was the second such workshop in the project 'Comparing Nordic and Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Asia' with participating scholars from the Nordic countries, Japan and Southeast Asia. This project, sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Finnida), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JIBIC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) culminated in a book-length publication: Jerve, Alf Morten, Shimomura, Yasutami & Hansen, Annette Skovsted. (red.), Aid relationships in Asia: Exploring Ownership in Japanese and Nordic Aid, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2007.

WORKSHOP, 30 August 2007

The workshop 'The Cutting Edge of ICT Utilization in Japan and Sweden: Socio-Economic Perspectives' was held in collaboration with Centre for Information and Communication Research (CIC) at SSE and the Institute for Digital Society (IDS) at Waseda University.

WORKSHOP, 14-15 June 2008

15 high level European scholars participated with paper presentations in the workshop 'Japan's Political Economy'. On the final day EJARN (European Japan Advanced Research Network) was established. Professor Marie Söderberg, EIJS' director, is EJARN chairperson and the EIJS serves as the base for this network.


A conference on 'The EU-Japan Action Plan' was organized in collaboration with EJARN. The aim of the conference was to provide an occasion for an overall review of the contents, achievements and shortcomings of the EU-Japan Action Plan adopted in 2001. In addition to 15 leading scholars from various European countries, representatives from the European Commission, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Japanese Embassy in Sweden also attended.

CONFERENCE, 21-22 August 2009

A conference on 'The Japanese–South Korean Relationship' took place in collaboration with the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. This was a multidisciplinary workshop in which the bilateral relationship was analyzed from various angles. A number of scholars from Japan, South Korea, Europe and the U.S. participated. The conference papers have been published in book form: Söderberg, Marie (red.), Changing Power Relations in Northeast Asia: Implications for Relations between Japan and South Korea, Routledge, London, 2011

CONFERENCE, 2 December 2009

A conference on 'EU-Japan Relations in the Decade Ahead – Something New or More of the Same?' was held in Tokyo in cooperation with the Keio Jean Monnet EU Studies Centre of Excellence, the Embassy of Sweden in Japan and EJARN.

SEMINAR, 19 February 2010

Professor Seiichiro Yonekura from Japan's Hitotsubashi University held a seminar entitled 'Japanese Business Innovation – Present and Future Challenges'. This seminar was organized together with the Sweden–Japan Foundation, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and the Embassy of Japan in Sweden.

Inauguration of a new seminar series "Stockholm Seminar on Japan", 25 March 2010

This seminar series is jointly launched by the three major academic institutions of Japanese Studies in Sweden: the EIJS, the Northeast Asia Program at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and the Department of Japanese Studies at Stockholm University. It features monthly seminars on Japanese economics, politics and society.


The theme of the conference was 'EU – Japan Relations'. In addition to members of EJARN a number of other high level European scholars, selected members of the 'Wise Person Group' appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and members of the EU commission took part.


On June 9-10, the EIJS, in cooperation with EJARN organized a conference entitled ‘Japan, What’s Next?’. Besides academic speakers from EJARN as well as from Japan, participants included officials from the European External Action Service and DG trade at the European Commission, officials from both the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well from as the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The papers presented at this conference were published as a special issue of Japan Forum (Volume 24, Number 3 September 2012). 


A seminar by Professor Eiji Ogawa, Hitotsubashi University, on ‘Monetary Cooperation in East Asia: Anything to learn from the Euro Crises?’ was organized in cooperation with the Japanese Embassy in Stockholm.


A seminar on ‘Asian Integration and the Role of Japan’ was held in Tokyo in collaboration with the Swedish Embassy in Japan. H.E. Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, former Prime Minister of Japan and chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia was the keynote speaker. 


This is a program designed and carried out in close cooperation with the Swedish business community. The first PhD candidates entered the program in the autumn of 2012, with Volvo Trucks, Ericsson and Carl Bennet AB (CBAB) as its present sponsors.  The candidates are part of an ‘Asian group’ clustered in close conjunction with the EIJS and the Stockholm China Economic Research Institute (SCERI), thus constituting the core of an ‘Asian academic hub’ at the Stockholm School of Economics. Besides the regular SSE PhD curriculum, there are a number of Asia-related seminars and other activities in which the candidates take part.


An international conference entitled ‘Japan-What’s Next?’ was held in Stockholm. The first day was devoted to progress in EU–Japan relations in the political as well as the economic areas. In addition to academic speakers with expertise in the field, we had officials both from EU and Japan. The second day was more in the form of a traditional academic workshop.


The symposium ‘Lessons from Sweden on the Global Financial Crises: Financial Consolidation and Reforms’ was held in Tokyo  in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in Japan and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.  Mr. Anders Borg, Swedish Minister of Finance, was the keynote Speaker.


This year’s EJARN conference, ‘Towards Stronger and Deeper Relations between Japan and the EU’, held in Paris, was extremely timely as it took place just as negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement/Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and EU got under way in Tokyo, where parallel negotiations for a binding political agreement also were ongoing.
The first day of the conference was held at the OECD headquarters and was dedicated to bringing together business leaders, officials and scholars. The second day of the conference was more of a traditional academic workshop, held at EHESS in the Amphithéâter Francois Furet with formal presentations and prepared comments by appointed discussants, followed by in-depth discussions.


European Japan Advanced Research (EJARN) annual meeting held June 16-17 in Trondheim, Norway. This year’s theme was Approaches to Renewable Energy and Energy Security in Europe and Japan, Political and Economic Dimensions. Chairperson of the EJARN Executive Committee, Marie Söderberg opened the welcoming session together with Kari Melby, Pro-Rector for Research at NTNU and Paul Midford, Program Director of the NTNU Japan Program. The keynote address, ‘Japan’s Policy toward Europe’, was given by Ambassador Jiro Okuyama, Deputy Chief of Mission, Mission of Japan to the EU,  who was followed by Erling Rimestad, Deputy Director General Section for East Asia and Oceania, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Now Norwegian Ambassador to Tokyo) who spoke on ‘Norway’s Relationship with Japan’.


On March 13, 2015 EIJS organized a conference on EU-Japan Trade at SSE. The EU Commissioner H. E. Dr. Cecilia Malmström was one of the speakers and the ongoing negotiations for an Economic Partnership/Free Trade Agreement between EU and Japan was the topic. Chief negotiars on both sides, that is Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Yasumasa Nagamine and Deputy Director-General, European Commission Directorate-General for Trade, Mr. Mauro Petriccione where both participating with speeches as well as a lively debate. A number of high level scholars contributed by analyzing the issue from various angles. Compared to previous conferences when the trade issue have been debated it seemed that some progress has been made.


This year’s European Japan Advanced Research Network (EJARN) conference was held at Pavia University. The title of the conference was “The EU and Japan: State, Obstacles and Prospects of Political and Economic/Trade Relations”. The first day of the conference was focused on EU-Japan relations in trade and economics. A group of leading scholars from Europe and Japan was invited and furthermore European and Japanese officials directly involved in negotiating the envisioned EU-Japan agreements were invited too. Through the participation of scholars and policymakers the conference was able to present a wide range of views and analysis regarding the future of EU-Japan relations and European-Japanese cooperation in trade, economics, politics and security. The second day of the conference was dealt with and covered various issues on Japan’s foreign and security policy agenda, with leading Japanese and European scholars and officials presenting their views and analysis of Japanese foreign and security policies. 


The European Japan Advanced Research Network’s (EJARN) annual conference, entitled “European-Japan Relations: Settled bilaterally or governed by influences from the US and China” took place in the U.K. 16-17 June, hosted by Prof. Christopher Hughes and the Politics and International Studies (PAIS) at the University of Warwick. The conference succeeded in assembling a notable group of Japan/EU-Japan specialists from both Europe and Japan as well as European and Japanese officials directly involved in these matters. The conference results will be presented in a book.


The workshop “A Changing Aid Paradigm: Development Cooperation Pivoting to Asia”, was organized by Stockholm University's Forum for Asian Studies in cooperation with the EIJS. The workshop featured as many as 18 speakers--both academics and practitioners--drawn from many parts of Asia as well as from Europe and the U.S. Besides the active participants an audience of some 25 people attended. This workshop resulted in the formation of a new network of scholars working on development cooperation in Asia—a network that is likely to give rise to further mutual projects in the future. 


The European Japan Advanced Research Network (EJARN) and a Canadian organization modelled after it, the Japan Futures Initiative (JFI), arranged a joint conference in Tokyo December 11-12. The conference, entitled “Japan’s Future: International Reflections on the Prospects for a 'New Meiji Transformation' ” brought together some 20 high-level scholars from Europe and Canada. Together with Japanese colleagues, the participants discussed possible changes and various future ways forward for Japan. Its results will be presented in a book.


EIJS and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) Development Forum arranged a joint seminar in Tokyo with the title "Can Japanese Development Cooperation Tell us Something about Regional and Global Change?" This was a book release seminar for Japanese Development Cooperation: The Making of an Aid Architecture Pivoting to Asia (eds. Andre Asplund and Marie Söderberg, Routledge Oxon and New York 2017). Marie Söderberg (EIJS), Yasutami Shimomura (Hosei University), Yoneyuki Sugita (Osaka University) and Izumi Ohno (GRIPS), all contributors to the book gave short presentation of their views.

EJARN CONFERENCE, 9-10 June 2017

The European Japan Advanced Research Network (EJARN) organized a two-day conference at Goethe University in Frankfurt, June 9-10. This year’s theme was “Monetary Policy in Japan and Europe”. The first day of the conference focused on keynotes related to monetary policy and the second day offered a broader scope of topics. The conference attracted more than 60 speakers, scholars and invited guests ranging from policy makers to business sector representatives and interested students. 


A special celebration took place on September 28 and beginning with a seminar in which EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström presented the new EU-Japan Economic Partnership/Free Trade Agreement which had at that time become agreed in principal. The discussant was Professor Axel Berkofsky of the University of Pavia and the seminar was moderated by Marie Söderberg, Director of EIJS. At the following reception Ann Linde, Swedish Minister for the EU and Trade, reflected on the implications of the new agreement for Sweden, and Lars Ågren, SSE's Executive Vice President, remarked on the importance of the EIJS, both for the SSE and more broadly. Ambassador Magnus Vahlquist gave participants a glimpse of the early days of fund-raising and Ambassador Jun Yamazaki congratulated EIJS on its 25th anniversary, elaborating on the free trade agreement from the Japanese perspective. 


H.E. the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, held a seminar explaining the Economic Partnership Agreement that was concluded in principle between EU and Japan this summer. She did this in connection with the 25 years anniversary of the European Institute of Japanese Studies (EIJS) at Stockholm School of Economics.

"This agreement is of enormous economic importance, but besides this, it is also a way of getting closer to each other. We want to show that EU and Japan as democratic and global partners believe in free trade. We believe in building bridges not walls" said the Commissioner.

Cecilia Malmström's Full Speech

It was a full house at Stockholm School of Economics on September 28. The seminar was moderated by Professor Marie Söderberg, director of the EIJS. Professor Axel Berkofsky from University of Pavia acted as a discussant. The commissioner had to answer a number of hard questions concerning transparency as well as the way forward for the agreement.

Attending the reception after the seminar was also the Swedish Minister for EU and Trade, Ann Linde, who held a speech on the implications of this agreement for Sweden. She pointed out that Japan was Sweden’s third largest trading partner outside the EU and that the agreement is likely to promote trade between Sweden and Japan even further.

Ann Linde's Full Speech

Concerning the 25 year celebration of the EIJS the Director Marie Söderberg said. "We are very proud of the fact that we have been able to serve as a link between EU and Japan under such a long time and finally also to see that our efforts have given result."