rianespace Chairman & CEO Stéphane Israël took an active role in this week’s meetings of the EU-Japan Business Round Table, which seeks to further strengthen relations between the European Union and Japan – including a focus on launch services.

As part of a high-level delegation – which comprises some 50 senior executives from leading Japanese and European companies – Israël discussed ways to improve the business environment and enhance cooperation, as well as encouraging the regions’ authorities to work toward a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

Israël stressed the importance of open markets for commercial satellite launches in Japan and Europe, and for continuing the cooperative launch services between Arianespace and its Japanese partners in the future.  Such cooperation would build on a long-standing agreement that allows Arianespace and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to make joint launch proposals to commercial customers, as well as using MHI’s H-IIA launcher as a backup for Ariane 5, and vice-versa – mitigating the risk of long launch delays in case of launch vehicle technical problems.

“I hope that, one day, European and Japanese authorities could make a similar arrangement possible for the launches of institutional satellites such as Galileo and Copernicus in Europe and similar satellites in Japan,” he said.

Israël added that he hopes the cooperation on back-up launch services will be maintained as both Europe and Japan develop new-generation launchers whose first launches are planned in 2020.

In his role as Co-chair of the Business Round Table’s Working Party on Innovation, Information & Communication Technology, he also reported on recommendations for reinforcing ties between Europe and Japan in the areas of aeronautics, space, defense and railways.

The EU-Japan Business Round Table’s main objective is to submit policy recommendations to authorities in order to develop trade and investment between the EU and Japan, as well as to encourage industrial collaboration on issues of common interest.  Current co-chairmen are Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier, and Kazuo Tsukuda, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ former Chairman of the Board.