The EU and Japan in a post-Covid world: the “battle of narratives” and the disinformation threat

Monday 08 March 2021, 09:00 to 10:15

A critical challenge emerging in the wake of the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic is the spread of (state-sponsored) disinformation campaigns, which threaten to undermine national and international responses to the crisis, as well as the foundations of democratic societies more broadly. Reports by the EEAS and a recent briefing by the European Parliament have pointed out Russia and China’s efforts to discredit the EU’s pandemic response, while positioning themselves as responsible global leaders. In this context, the EU HRVP Josep Borrell warned of an emerging “battle of narratives”. In a similar vein, Japan’s recent annual defence review problematized Chinese “propaganda efforts … including the spread of disinformation”.

  • As both Japan and the EU increasingly observe and reflect on the problem of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns and foreign interference, how can they join efforts to effectively monitor and counter these threats?
  • What are the concrete challenges the two partners are facing and how do they impact their respective policies?
  • What lessons can be drawn from this experience and what measures can be put in place to prevent the spread of conspiracies and disinformation at the international level?


8.45-9.00 Opening of the digital meeting room

09.00-10.15 Discussion


Moderator: Céline PAJON, Senior Fellow, Japan Program, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)


  • Chiyuki AOI, Professor of International Security at the Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo
  • Lutz GUELLNER, Head of Division, Strategic Communication, European External Action Service
  • Bonji OHARA, Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
  • Jakub JANDA, Director, European Values Centre for Security Policy
Please note that this a closed-door session, by invite only. This session will be followed by a public webinar on ‘Covid-19 and the resilience of supply chains’. For registration, please see here.