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Switzerland and Japan: Celebrating 160 Years of Diplomatic Relations and Looking Forward

As Switzerland and Japan mark the 160th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2024, Eric Nussbaumer, a respected member of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) and President of the National Council, plays a pivotal role in underscoring the depth and breadth of this enduring partnership. Nussbaumer, who has been instrumental in fostering international relations, emphasizes the significance of this milestone, not only as a celebration of past achievements but also as a beacon for future collaborations between the two nations.


Eric Nussbaumer

 Eric Nussbaumer

Envisioning a Future of Shared Values and Mutual Respect

Nussbaumer outlines a comprehensive roadmap for the bilateral relationship's future, focusing on strengthening relations in science and technology, upholding a rules-based multilateral order, and modernizing the Free Trade Agreement. He believes that these areas are crucial for a partnership that thrives on innovation, respect for international law, and mutual cooperation.


Reflecting on the essence of the Swiss-Japanesefriendship, Nussbaumer highlights the importance of trust, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to peace, environmental sustainability, and scientific advancement. He quotes, "In today's global conduct, what significance do you attribute to the long-standing relationship between the two? I think we live in a world where it's full of trouble right now. So it's like in private life, friendship is always important, also in troubled times.”


Looking Forward with Optimism and Shared Commitments

As both Switzerland and Japan serve as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council until the end of 2024, there exists a unique opportunity to promote a rules-based international order and democratic values on a global stage. Nussbaumer states,“ I think it's always important to strengthen what we have achieved already and if you look at what we have achieved already, I think it's in the cooperation in terms of science and technology where we can continue our cooperation.” Thecooperation agreement on science and technology, signed in 2007, and the establishment of Swissnex in Osaka, demonstrate the dynamic and forward-thinking nature of this partnership, with nearly 450 joint projects since 2016 highlighting the commitment to innovation and scientific exchange.


The cultural interactions, including projects introduced by the Swiss Embassy in Tokyo to share Swiss democratic practices with Japanese students, further contribute to a deeper mutual appreciation. Nussbaumer's admiration for the Japanese dedication to aesthetics and detail reflects a broader respect for cultural richness and its inspirational potential for Swiss society.


Nussbaumer shares personal anecdotes to underscore the value of cultural exchange programs in fostering mutual understanding and respect. He recounts hosting a Japanese student in his family, an experience that enriched both his children and their guest. This personal connection exemplifies the broader aim of nurturing the next generation of leaders and strengthening the fabric of international relations through individual and political level exchanges.


As Switzerland and Japan celebrate 160 years of partnership, rooted in shared values and mutual respect, both nations are poised to lead by example, showing the world the transformative power of collaboration. This alliance, bridging cultural and geographical divides, promises to forge a future where joint efforts in science, technology, and cultural understanding pave the way for a brighter, more connected world.


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