(last updated: 16.04.2014)
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 jure. 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 19 October 2010 Toivo Tasa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Estonia to Japan presented his credentials to Emperor Akihito of Japan.
On 23 November 2012, Tetsuro Kai, Ambassador of Japan to Estonia presented his credentials to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
On 7 April 2011 the Estonian-Japanese parliamentary group was re-established. The Chairman of the group is Urmas Reinsalu (the previous groups were established in 1996, 2000, 2003, and 2007).
In 1991, the Japanese-Estonian friendship society was established on the island of Hokkaido (chaired by Masatoshi Nakamura). In 1992, the Estonian-Japanese Association was established in Tallinn (chaired by Heikki Vallaste); it organises exhibitions and lectures, and promotes Japanese culture. In February 2004, the Estonian-Japanese friendship society was established in Tokyo (chaired by Kosaku Yamaguchi).
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.