Japan-United Kingdom Relations
Lunch Meeting Hosted by Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom
and Japan-U.K. Summit Meeting
On January 10, during his visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, attended a lunch meeting, commencing at 12:20 p.m. (local time) for approximately one hour, hosted by the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister of the U.K., as well as a summit meeting, commencing at 3:15 p.m. (local time) for approximately 60 minutes. The overview of the meetings are as follows.
The two leaders shared the view that since Prime Minister May’s visit, cooperation between Japan and the U.K. has developed at an unprecedent pace, that Japan and the U.K. have established the closest relationship ever before since the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, and that Japan and the U.K. need to fulfill leading roles in fora such as the G20, these days, facing challenges against universal values including rules-based international order and free trade.
2. Cooperation in the G20 and the international arena
The two leaders shared the view that at this year’s G20, Japan and the U.K. would lead the growth of the global economy by promoting free trade and innovation, achieving at the same time both the economic growth and the disparity reduction, and that they would cooperate on contributing to adderessing the environmental and global issues, such as climate change and plastic waste in the ocean.
(2) World Trade Organization (WTO)
The two leaders shared the view that Japan and the U.K. will cooperate on WTO reform.
3. Japan-U.K. cooperation
(1) With regard to cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, Prime Minister Abe welcomed the U.K.’s increasing engagement in the region. The two leaders also shared the view that they would work on further strengthening Japan-U.K. cooperation vigorously in the fields such as (i) maritime security, (ii) quality infrastructure and (iii) telecommunications infrastructure including 5G, towards realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.
(2) Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan-U.K. security cooperation has developed significantly since Prime Minister May’s visit to Japan in August 2017, including calls at Japanese ports by British Royal Navy ships, and that the cooperation between Japan and the U.K., important partners on the security front, is opening a new chapter. Furthermore, the two leaders shared the view that the Fourth Japan-U.K. Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”) would be held in Japan this spring, that British Royal Navy ships would call at Japanese ports, and that the two countries would strengthen cooperation related to addressing “ship-to-ship transfers” by North Korea.
4. U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU)
Prime Minister Abe stated that while the ultimate decision regarding the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU lies with the British people the so-called “no deal” exit must be avoided. He also stated that Japan fully supports the draft Withdrawal Agreement between Prime Minister May and the EU, which aims to ensure legal stability for businesses operating in the U.K. by establishing the transition period. Prime Minister Abe appreciated Prime Minister May’s strong will and efforts to obtain approval from the Parliament for the draft Withdrawal Agreement. In response, Prime Minister May expressed her gratitude for Prime Minister Abe’s support and stated that the current draft Agreement is good for Japanese businesses.
5. Regional affairs
With regard to the North Korea situation, the two leaders shared the view that it is necessary to fully implement the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions in order to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges by North Korea. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe also asked for Prime Minister May’s understanding and cooperation towards an immidiate resolution of the abductions issue, and obtained the support from Prime Minister May.