UK and Japan set to agree new defence agreement as leaders meet in London


The UK and Japan are set to agree a new defence agreement when Boris Johnson hosts the Japanese prime minister in London on Thursday.

Downing Street said the prime minister’s meeting with Fumio Kishida is expected to conclude with a “landmark” reciprocal access agreement being signed.

The agreement would allow British and Japanese forces to deploy together to carry out training, joint exercises and disaster relief activities.

Mr Kishida’s official visit will be marked with a guard of honour and an RAF flypast over central London.

The flypast is expected to take place at around 11.10am and include two Typhoon fighter jets and the RAF Voyager Vespina.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss the war in Ukraine and how the West can further put pressure on Russian Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s regime.

In addition, they are expected to agree on closer collaboration as part of the UK’s clean green initiative.

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Downing Street said this would allow the UK and Japan to work together to support countries in Asia to develop renewables and provide alternative supplies to Russian oil and gas.

Ahead of the Japanese prime minister’s arrival, Mr Johnson said: “As two great island democracies, and the third and fifth largest economies in the world, the UK and Japan are focused on driving growth, creating highly skilled jobs and ensuring we remain technology superpowers.

“The visit of Prime Minister Kishida will accelerate our close defence relationship and build on our trade partnership to boost major infrastructure projects across the country – supporting our levelling up agenda.”

During Thursday’s meeting, the two leaders are also expected to tuck into some food from the Fukushima region, including Japanese popcorn.

Number 10 said this would symbolise the lifting of remaining restrictions on food products from the Japanese region after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Meanwhile, Conservative former minister Greg Clark, MP for Tunbridge Wells, is also set to be announced as the UK’s new trade envoy to Japan.

The UK and Japan began talks on strengthening their defence relationship back in September 2021.

In the same month, Australia, the UK and the US signed up to the Aukus pact to develop nuclear-powered submarines for Canberra in a bid to increase joint naval activity in the region.

This came after the UK government published its defence and foreign policy integrated review, last year.

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