Japanese-Finnish Bilateral Relations

Even if Finland and Japan are located far away from each other on the global map, the relations between our countries have been close since diplomatic relations were established on 24th May 1919. The Japanese and the Finns have often felt a mutual affinity to each other. There are common things in our national characteristics for instance in music, literature, art and the special relationship with the nature.
In recent years the relations between our countries have developed in trade, culture as well as in scientific co-operation. In 1978 Finland and Japan signed a cultural agreement which was ratified in 1980. It is the only cultural agreement that Japan has made with any Nordic countries.
In 1983 Finnair started direct flights from Helsinki to Tokyo according to an aviation agreement made two years earlier. When flights over Siberia were allowed in 1991, the flight time between Finland and Japan decreased to nine hours. In 2000 Finnair started flights to Osaka and in 2006 to Nagoya. Thanks to the multiple flights per week, Helsinki has become one of the most popular travel destinations for the Japanese people.
Looking from Japan, Finland has been a gateway to the European market. For example when Japanese cars began export to Europe in 1962, the first destination was Finland. On the other hand, Japan has traditionally been the most important trade partner in Asia for Finland. Trade exchange between our countries has increased, although Finland’s imports from Japan have always exceeded the exports to Japan. In 1998 Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO opened an office in Helsinki to develop trade between our countries. In Finland trade relations have also been promoted by the Finnish-Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
In science and technology there are many connections between Finland and Japan. In 1997 science and technology co-operation agreement was signed. The latest achievement is a co-operation agreement between Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Finnish Academy and Japanese NISTEP (National Institute of Science and Technology Policy) signed in October 2001. Three year agreement aimed at expert co-operation in science research and anticipation.
Interaction has been increased by numerous visits between our countries starting from the Imperial Family, leaders of the countries as well as student and youth exchange. The foundation of close relations between Finland and Japan is in the determined efforts of both countries for many decades. In 2009 the 90th anniversary year of the diplomatic relations was celebrated through different events both in Finland and Japan.