The European Union (EU) and Japan are economic giants but, unlike the United States, their political influence lags behind their economic power. Closely linked by economic exchanges and through cooperation in various international organizations, in their capacity as civilian powers (defined as states dependent on economic cooperation, supranational structures, and primarily economic rather than military means of defending their national interest)1 both share a sense of responsibility for global political developments. Moreover, Japan has supported the stabilization and rebuilding of the former Yugoslavia. The Japanese commitments for assistance to Kosovo ranked third among all bilateral sources,2
which was highly appreciated in Europe. Could it now be the EU’s turn to assist Japan in the case of North Korea? Does it have its own interests in that region? What is the EU’s North Korea policy, and how does this policy relate to Japan? Is there bilateral cooperation between the EU and Japan on the various North Korean issues, such as weapons of mass destruction, humanitarian aid, human rights, and economic reforms? If so, how intense is this cooperation? Is it based on a convergence of interests? Does North Korea policy represent a particular area of bilateral cooperation between the EU and Japan?