Japan-United Kingdom Relations

May 5, 2022
Prime Minister Kishida who attends the meeting with Prime Minister Johnson (head-to-head meeting) Japan-UK Summit Meeting (head-to-head meeting) (Photo: Cabinet Public Affairs Office)
Prime Minister Kishida who attends the meeting with Prime Minister Johnson (general meeting) Japan-UK Summit Meeting (general meeting) (Photo: Cabinet Public Affairs Office)

On May 5, commencing at 11:25 a.m. (local time; 7:25 p.m. JST), for the total of one hour and 45 minutes, Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, who is visiting the United Kingdom, held a summit meeting including a 20-minute tête-à-tête, and working lunch with the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. An overview is as follows.

1. Introduction

At the outset, Prime Minister Kishida stated that he was pleased to meet Prime Minister Johnson again and congratulated the 70th anniversary of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The two leaders confirmed that the Japan-UK relationship is closer than ever before and that they would further deepen the bilateral cooperation; that the G7 would unite and lead the international community in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and would make efforts to sanction Russia and support Ukraine.

2. Bilateral relations

  • (1) The two leaders shared the view that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific is inseparable and that unilateral change of the status quo by force is not acceptable anywhere in the world. Prime Minister Kishida commended the deepening of Japan-UK security and defence cooperation and UK’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific, including the deployment of the UK carrier strike group to the region and joint exercises last year, the permanent deployment of UK naval vessels to the region and the response to ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean-flagged vessels. Prime Minister Johnson stated that the UK remains committed to the region.
  • (2) The two leaders welcomed the agreement in principle on the Japan-UK Reciprocal Access Agreement, negotiations for which began in October last year. They affirmed that the agreement would further deepen Japan-UK security and defence cooperation by facilitating joint operations and exercises between the Japan Self Defense Forces and UK military forces, and enable the two countries to make a further contribution to global peace and stability. The two leaders confirmed that they would accelerate the work towards an early signature.
  • (3) With regard to the cooperation between Japan and the UK on future combat air system, the two leaders shared the view to reach mutual understanding on the overall picture of cooperation by the end of 2022, in cooperation with allies and other countries.
  • (4) The two leaders exchanged views on the importance of economic security and energy security. In view of the risks that have emerged as a result of the Ukrainian crisis, they confirmed that cooperation among like-minded countries sharing fundamental values and coordination with international organisations are essential, and that they would strengthen their cooperation bilaterally and through the G7 and other fora. In this regard, they welcomed the progress being made in cooperation between Japanese and British companies in various fields, including offshore wind power and hydrogen.
  • (5) The two leaders also confirmed that they would strengthen cooperation in areas such as climate change and digitalisation. Prime Minister Kishida explained the 'new form of capitalism', referring to the speech he delivered that morning at the Guildhall in the City of London, and gained understanding from Prime Minister Johnson.
  • (6) The two leaders also exchanged views on the procedures for the UK’s accession to TPP11 and concurred on cotinuing their efforts to promote trade and investment between the two countries through steady implementation of the Japan-UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and the Japan-UK Industrial Policy Dialogue. Prime Minister Kishida also stated that he would welcome British investment in Japan. Prime Minister Kishida expressed his hope for an early resolution through talks between the UK and the EU on the issue surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol to ensure that Japanese companies operating in the UK and the EU would not be affected.
  • (7) Prime Minister Kishida once again called for the early lifting of the UK’s import measures on Japanese food products regarding radionuclides, and Prime Minister Johnson explained that the measures would be lifted by the end of June, depending on parliamentary procedures. Prime Minister Kishida welcomed it. During the meeting, Prime Minister Kishida presented Johnson with popcorn from Fukushima Prefecture, which the two leaders enjoyed eating together.

3. International affiars

  • (1) The two leaders reaffirmed that the G7 and the international community will continue to unite and cooperate in strong sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine, based on the recognition that Russia's aggression against Ukraine undermines the foundations of the entire international order. Prime Minister Kishida explained that he is actively engaged in outreach to Asian countries, such as the visits to Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand before coming to Europe. The two leaders concurred on the importance of outreach to Asia, Africa and other regions.
  • (2) The two leaders also exchanged views on the situation in Asia, sharing strong concerns over the rapid and uncertain build-up of military power and increased military activities in the region, in addition to attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas. They confirmed their united and resolute response to attempts to unilaterally change the status quo and to economic coercion. They also reaffirmed their continued cooperation in dealing with North Korea regarding the nuclear and missile issues, including the launch of ballistic missiles on 4 May, as well as the abductions issue.

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