Japan recognised the Republic of Estonia de facto on 6 March 1919. On 26 January 1921, the Supreme Council of the Entente (including Japan) recognised the Republic of Estonia de iure. Japan also recognised the Republic of Estonia through a separate act. The chargé d’affaires a. i. appointed to Riga in 1921 also covered Estonia.
In 1935 the first Japanese Honorary Consul, Voldemar Puhk, started his activities in Tallinn. In 1937, Japan’s ambassador to Riga was also accredited to Estonia and in 1939 Japan established a diplomatic representation in Tallinn, which functioned until 1940.
Relations since 1991
On 6 September 1991, Japanese Special Ambassador Hirokazu Arai conveyed to Tallinn the official statement of the Japanese government’s recognition of the independence of the Republic of Estonia. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were restored on 10 October 1991.
In January 1993, Japan’s Embassy in Tallinn was opened.
On 4 March 1996, the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia was opened in Tokyo.
On 15 December 2018 Mr Väino Reinart, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Estonia to Japan presented his credentials to Emperor Akihito of Japan.
On 16 October 2019, Mr Hajime Kitaoka, Ambassador of Japan to Estonia presented his credentials to President Kersti Kaljulaid.
On 8 April 2019 the Estonian-Japanese parliamentary group was re-established. The Chairman of the group is Mr Kaido Höövelson. Since 2017 Japan-Estonia Parliamentary Friendship Group is chaired by Mr Takuya Hirai, who is also State Minister for Digital Transformation since September 2020.
In 1991, the Japanese-Estonian Friendship Association (JEFA) was established on the island of Hokkaido (chaired by Masatoshi Nakamura).
Since 2010 its headquarters have been relocated to Tokyo. Chairman: Mr. Tadahiko Yoshino; Director General: Ms. Hideko Arai
For further information: http://j-efa.com/
There is also a Japanese-Estonian Friendship Association in Saku City, Nagano Prefecture (chaired by Eiichi Takakuma).
In 1992, the Estonian-Japanese Association was established in Tallinn (chaired by Heikki Vallaste); it organises exhibitions and lectures, and promotes Japanese culture.
A sister city agreement was concluded on 1 May 2007 between the Japanese city of Saku, in Nagano prefecture, and the Estonian township of Saku, in Harju County. There have been exchanges also between Ichikawa-shi (Chiba) and Pärnu; Kaga-shi (Ishikawa) and Haapsalu.