The European Union opened a research center Thursday in Tokyo to teach the Japanese public about the EU and its relations with Asia.

The EU delegation in Japan said a consortium of four Japanese universities runs the EU Institute in Japan, although the European Commission is paying the main portion of the operating fund, initially set at 1.3 million euros.

The four universities are Hitotsubashi University, International Christian University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and Tsuda College, all in Tokyo.

The inauguration ceremony is scheduled to take place at Hitotsubashi University on June 22, when European Commission President Romano Prodi visits Japan for an annual EU-Japan summit.

“We look forward to having this forum to increase public awareness in Japan of EU development and the importance of the European integration process,” said Etienne Reuter, minister-counselor at the Delegation of the European Commission in Japan.

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