Japan



OVERVIEW

Singapore and Japan celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2016. The bilateral relationship has deepened and broadened over the years, building on regular high-level exchanges and strong economic ties, to include multifaceted cooperation in non-traditional areas such as counter‑proliferation, defence, environment, biomedical research, export control and cyber-security.

Economic ties between Singapore and Japan are anchored by the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (JSEPA), signed by then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and then-Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2002. The agreement was Japan’s first bilateral economic partnership agreement and Singapore’s first with a major trading partner. In 2015, Japan was Singapore’s 8th largest trading partner and 2nd largest investor, while Singapore was Japan’s top Asian and 5th largest foreign direct investor.

Both sides also share many common interests on regional and international issues and collaborate closely under Singapore’s largest and most successful joint training programme with another country – the Japan-Singapore Partnership Programme for the 21st Century (JSPP21) – to provide technical assistance to third countries.

RECENT HIGHLIGHTS

2017

  • Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike visited Singapore as the 60th Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow (LKYEF) from 15 to 17 November. Established in 1991, the LKYEF invites outstanding individuals for high-level visits to Singapore.
  • Senior Minister of State (Defence) (Foreign Affairs) Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman led the Singapore delegation at the 12th Japan-Singapore Symposium (JSS), held in Singapore from 23 to 24 October.  The JSS is an annual Track 1.5 forum between Japanese and Singapore government and business leaders, and scholars, to exchange views on issues of mutual interest.
  • Japanese Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Ms Tamayo Marukawa visited Singapore from 31 July to 2 August and called on Minister (Foreign Affairs) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg on 8 July.
  • Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong visited Tokyo, Japan, from 4 to 7 June to attend the 23rd International Conference on The Future of Asia, “Globalism at a Crossroads – Asia’s Next Move”, organised by Nikkei Inc.. ESM also spoke at the Keynote Dialogue at the Conference.
  • Senior Minister of State (PMO) (Foreign Affairs) (Transport) Mrs Josephine Teo made a working visit to Tokyo from 12 to 14 February.

2016

  • President Tony Tan Keng Yam made a State Visit to Japan from 28 November to 6 December 2016, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan.
  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited Japan from 26 to 29 September to receive the posthumous award of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers on behalf of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
  • Japanese Minister in charge of Economic Revitalisation, Minister in charge of Total Reform of Social Security and Tax, and Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Nobuteru Ishihara visited Singapore on 7 September.
  • Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi visited Singapore from 1 to 2 September.
  • Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii visited Singapore on 22 July.
  • Japanese Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani visited Singapore on 4 June, where he delivered a speech at the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue.
  • Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong visited Tokyo from 29 to 31 May, where he delivered the keynote address at the 22nd International Conference on The Future of Asia organised by Nikkei Inc.
  • Minister (Foreign Affairs) Dr Vivian Balakrishnan made an introductory visit to Japan from 24 to 27 April. The visit coincided with the exact date that Singapore-Japan diplomatic relations were established on 26 April 1966.
  • Urasenke Grand Master XV, Daisosho Dr Genshitsu Sen visited Singapore from 12 to 15 April, where he conducted a ritual tea dedication and tea sharing at the Istana and the Asian Civilisations Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan.
  • Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Affairs, and Transport) Josephine Teo led the Singapore delegation at the 18th Singapore-Kagoshima Conference held on 19 January in Singapore.
  • Governor of Hokkaido Prefecture Harumi Takahashi visited Singapore from 13 to 15 January, where she attended the opening of the Hokkaido Government Representative Office in Singapore.

2015

  • Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso represented Japan at the SG50 National Day Parade on 9 August.
  • Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong visited Japan from 20 to 22 May, where he delivered the keynote address at the 21st International Conference on The Future of Asia organised by Nikkei Inc.
  • Minister (Foreign Affairs and Law) K Shanmugam visited Japan from 13 to 17 March to attend the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, and to officiate at the opening ceremony of the Rikuzentakata Multi-Purpose Community Hall, Singapore’s largest reconstruction project funded by the Singapore Red Cross following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.  

 Last updated: December 2017