Japan-United Kingdom Relations
Third Japan-UK Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”)
On December 14 Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, H.E. Mr. Taro Kono, and Minister of Defence, H.E. Mr. Itsunori Onodera, who were both visiting the UK, held the Third Japan-UK Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”) with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the UK, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson and the Secretary of State for Defense, the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson. The overview is as follows. The meeting was held for approximately two hours in total, a working lunch from 11:50 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (local time) and a meeting from 1:15 to 2:10 p.m. (local time), followed by the issuing of Joint Statement (English (PDF) / Japanese (PDF)).
1. General Remarks
(1) The Ministers affirmed that Japan and the UK are each other’s closest security partners in Europe and Asia respectively. They reaffirmed the best approach to Japan-UK cooperation suitable for reaching the new level, based on the commitment that the two countries expressed during Prime Minister May’s visit to Japan in August this year to elevate their global security partnership to the new level.
(2) The Ministers shared the view that at a time when the existing international order faces challenges, the two countries would cooperate closely to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
(3) Japan mentioned its initiatives based on the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” while welcoming the further engagement of the UK in the Indo-Pacific region. The Ministers shared the view that they would put into implementation co-operation between Japan and the UK toward realization of the free and open Indo-Pacific region.
2. Regional affairs
(1) Regarding North Korea, the most imminent and grave threat to the international community, the Ministers affirmed that they would never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea and that Japan and the UK would cooperate to enhance pressure by the international community to the maximum degree.
(2) The Ministers affirmed the importance of a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law, and shared the view that they would oppose any unilateral actions that increase tensions and any attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion.
(3) Furthermore, the Ministers exchanged views on the situation in Russia and Ukraine and on the situation in the Middle East including Middle East peace process etc.
3. Japan-UK security and defense co-operation
(1) The Ministers welcomed the issuance of the Joint Statement and the formulation of the joint Action Plan stating medium to long-term specific initiatives between Japan and the UK (not to be published), as showing the future direction of cooperation between the two countries.
(2) The Ministers shared the view that they would strengthen coordination in maritime security and safety, and capacity-building for developing countries toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
(3) Furthermore, the Ministers welcomed the progress of joint exercises that have been made to date, including the joint exercise on the occasion of UK Typhoons’ visit to Japan last year, and affirmed that they would coordinate toward the implementation of joint exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force on the occasion of the visit to Japan of HMS Sutherland and HMS Argyll next year, and that they would conduct the Japan-UK joint ground exercise for the first time in Japan next year.
(4) Regarding defense equipment and technology cooperation, reflecting on the progress of the co-operative research project on the feasibility study on a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) Phase 2, the Ministers looked forward to the early progress to the next research project, including the research prototyping and the launch testing.
(5) In the counterterrorism and cyber areas, the Ministers affirmed that they would further strengthen the cooperation of the two countries such as through the 3rd Counter-Terrorism Consultations planned to be held in January next year and the 4th Cyber Consultations planned to be held in February next year. Furthermore, the Ministers shared the view that toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games they would cooperate closely in this field, taking into account the experience of the UK which had led the 2012 Games to success.
(6) The Ministers also exchanged views on space, and shared the view that they would deepen discussions regarding the best approach to Japan-UK cooperation in this area.