The EESC is part of the overall EU-Japan relationship and contributes by addressing issues related to the role of civil society and by promoting socio-economic dialogue and participatory democracy. A Japan Follow-up Committeewas set up to carry out this work and maintain relations with civil society in Japan. As there is no Japanese institutional equivalent of the EESC, the EESC's partners in Japan comprise social partners, other socio-economic stakeholders, environmental, social and youth organisations, Japanese universities, academic institutes and others.
Since 2006, all so-called "new generation" trade agreements concluded by the EU contain a Trade and Sustainable Development chapter. This chapter includes a role for civil society in monitoring the implementation and impact of the agreement. For this reason, since the start of the negotiations with Japan for a Free Trade Agreement in 2013, the Japan Follow-up Committee has worked on defining and shaping a joint civil society monitoring mechanism together with Japanese stakeholders and partners. In addition, on a regular basis, missions to Japan and seminars are organised, alternately in Brussels and in Japan.