Luxembourg Crown Prince Puts Value on Japan Ties; Space Development a Notable Area of Cooperation

The Japan News
Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg speaks during an interview with The Japan News in Tokyo on Thursday.

Luxembourg and Japan have been building a solid foundation for economic collaboration in such advanced fields as space and data-driven industries, Crown Prince Guillaume of the grand duchy said in an interview with The Japan News in Tokyo on Thursday.

Leading the country’s economic delegation of about 60 people to Japan, the crown prince described its purpose as “strengthening the bond between Japan and Luxembourg” and said the mission “definitely was successful.”

During his four-day visit through Thursday, he achieved notable outcomes such as the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and the signing of an air services agreement between the two governments. These accords have established “the cornerstone” for future bilateral economic cooperation, the crown prince said.

The memorandum between JAXA and the LSA enables further collaboration in such arenas as supercomputing and mutual use of facilities. The air services agreement sets up a legal framework for the stable operation of scheduled air services between the two nations.

Luxembourg is an economic powerhouse with the world’s highest per capita GDP at over $130,000, according to the International Monetary Fund. Its strength lies in its vibrant financial sector, especially investment funds and private banking. The small country, with a population of just about 670,000, has also diversified its economy by advancing into such fields as space and information and communication technology (ICT).

The nation’s space industry “is becoming a success story … attracting many businesses, many startups,” the crown prince said. Citing the grand duchy’s excellent connectivity, data center ecosystem and cybersecurity, he said that Luxembourg is “of course a very good and interesting place for Japanese companies who would like to explore the European market.”

Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy. In the interview, the crown prince emphasized the grand ducal family’s close relationship with the Imperial family. During the delegation’s visit to Japan, the Emperor and Empress, and Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, met with Crown Prince Guillaume. It is “a tremendous honor” to foster strong ties with the Imperial family to hand down to future generations, he said.

During his visit to Japan, the crown prince also met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Ken Saito.

At the end of the interview, he stressed the significance of bilateral cooperation for the world, saying that Japan and Luxembourg share democratic values such as multilateralism and the rule of law. Referring to the geopolitical context of the world as “very complicated and complex,” the crown prince said that “all these crises actually got us closer and closer together.”

The Japan News
Luxembourg’s economy minister Lex Delles talks in an interview on Thursday.

Delles: Ask right questions

As a key member of the delegation, Luxembourg’s Minister of the Economy, SME, Energy and Tourism Lex Delles also emphasized the importance of further economic cooperation between the two nations, which share “values, friendship and trust,” in an interview with The Japan News on Thursday.

As an example, the minister referred to the activities of the Tokyo-based space startup ispace, Inc., which has been developing a lunar micro rover in cooperation with the government of Luxembourg. The rover is planned to be transported to Japan as early as next month to prepare for a launch by the year end, according to the minister.

Regarding the grand duchy’s current top-notch economic status, Delles described the nation’s evolution from a traditional agriculture-centered economy to a leading steel power in the 20th century, followed by its further development into a world-class financial hub and its current transition to a data-driven economy. “I think in Luxembourg, we asked the right questions at the right moment, and we see that. The success of … our economy is due to changing of our economic priorities,” he said.