In 2001 the EU and Japan decided to launch a decade of EU-Japan cooperation under the title "Shaping our Common Future". This Action Plan contained four sections ("objectives"). The final objective (Objective IV) was titled "Bringing together peoples and cultures" and included "developing civil society links and encouraging inter-regional exchanges". The EESC is the part of the co-operation process and brings an important contribution to EU – Japan relations addressing not only issues related to bi-lateral co-operation or to the role of civil society in general, but also problems of global importance such as sustainable development or global financial crisis.
The EESC's partners comprise civil society organisations in Japan, youth, Japanese universities, academic societies and institutes esp. the EU Institute in Japan, Kansai (EUIJ, Kansai).
Their joint activities include among others:
- joint workshops and seminars on a variety of topics,
- exchange of speakers,
- internships for Japanese students in the EESC.
In 2007, the Committee adopted the own initiative opinion on "EU-Japan Relations: The role of Civil Society", giving not only extensive characteristics of the civil society in Japan, but setting out the framework for future co-operation as well. As a result the contact group with Japanese civil society had been established.