Japan is one of Switzerland’s most important partner states in Asia. As well as intensive economic relations the two countries enjoy close cooperation in the economic, political and multilateral areas. Relations, at the highest level, are excellent. In 2014, Switzerland and Japan celebrated 150 years of official diplomatic relations.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Japan
Key Aspects of Diplomatic Relations
Since 2010, a memorandum of understanding between Switzerland and Japan has aimed to foster political dialogue between the two countries.
The level of economic relations between Japan and Switzerland is extremely high. Japan is one of the main countries for the promotion of Swiss exports and Switzerland's second largest trading partner in Asia after China (including Hong Kong).
At the multilateral level, Switzerland and Japan regularly share similar positions, particularly in the areas of international cooperation, peace policy and denuclearisation.
The Free Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement between Switzerland and Japan, which entered into force on 1 September 2009, was the first free trade agreement signed by Japan with a European country.
The two countries engage in regular dialogue on financial matters in order to coordinate financial policy positions. Tourism and image promotion are two other important aspects of Switzerland's economic relations with Japan.
A Swiss Business Hub in Tokyo is responsible for promoting Swiss trade.
Cooperation in Education, Research and Innovation
Japan is one of the main partners of Swiss actors in education, research and innovation in Asia.
To help boost these links, Switzerland and Japan signed an agreement on cooperation in science and technology in 2007, following which a bilateral programme was launched. A joint committee meets regularly to discuss topics of common interest.
The science section of the Swiss embassy in Tokyo actively supports Swiss actors in education, research and innovation in their activities and in contacts with Japanese partners.
The Swiss Embassy is particularly active in promoting cultural exchanges.
As part of the celebrations to mark 150 years of diplomatic relations in 2014, the two countries presented various joint cultural projects.
In addition, Switzerland will organise activities on the sidelines of the next Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, where a House of Switzerland will open its doors for the duration of the games.
Swiss Nationals in Japan
At the end of 2018, there were 1,687 Swiss citizens living in Japan.
History of Bilateral Relations
Switzerland was quick to take an interest in Japan. The first trade delegation, led by watch industry representative Aimé Humbert, visited Japan in 1863. This visit resulted in the conclusion of a trade and friendship agreement the following year.
Switzerland opened a representation in Tokyo in 1906. During the Second World War Switzerland represented the interests in Japan of many countries including the United States and Great Britain. Following an interruption in the 1945–52 period diplomatic relations were resumed in 1952, and in 1957 the embassy was reopened.