VUB Institute for European Studies initiates Japan Program

On 1 October 2020, the newly established Japan Program officially started its activities at the VUB’s Institute for European Studies (IES). Set up with the support of the Japan Foundation (, the Program aims to enhance awareness of Japan’s foreign and security policy, steer the European debate on current security issues in East Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region, as well as to promote Japan’s cooperation with the EU and NATO.

As the global balance of power shifts to Asia, Europe has been stepping up its ambition to play a more proactive role in regional political and security affairs. The Program aims to accompany this dynamic by providing a unique platform for research, education and dialogue for the academic community, policy-practitioners and the broader public in Europe and Asia. To this end, it plans to organise a range of activities, including an executive course, public events and policy dialogues, as well as issue a series of policy-oriented publications.

The Program will be part of the new Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy (CSDS) and is headed by Dr Eva Pejsova, Senior Japan Fellow, and Celine Pajon, Senior Research Fellow of the project. Its activities will be supported by Prof. Luis Simon, Maaike Verbruggen and Fabio Figiaconi.

Dr Eva Pejsova commented: ‘In February 2019, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force, creating the world’s largest open economic area covering a third of the global economy. This has obviously opened up a vast number of collaboration opportunities between the two parties. In a century commonly known as the Asian Century, we believe that, in addition to the KF-VUB Korea Chair also hosted at the IES, our new Japan Program is a very timely project that will be beneficial to a diverse range of stakeholders in Europe, Asia, and beyond.’