Japan-United Kingdom Relations

August 5, 2020
(Photo 1) Foreign Ministers at Lancaster House
(Photo 2) Foreign Ministers chatting outside the House
(Photo 3) Foreign Ministers walking together

On August 5, commencing at 6:00 p.m. (local time) for approximately 120 minutes, Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a Japan-UK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (a tete-a-tete meeting followed by a working dinner) with the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and First Secretary of State of the United Kingdom, at Lancaster House in London. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. Opening remarks

  • (1) Foreign Secretary Raab welcomed Minister Motegi’s visit to the UK, stating that he hoped to have candid exchanges of opinion given the various changes since his last visit to Japan in February.
  • (2) Minister Motegi expressed his pleasure at being able to visit the UK for his first overseas visit since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began.
  • (3) Minister Motegi stated that he hoped to confirm that Japan and the UK, as global strategic partners, would further strengthen their relations in wide-ranging areas, including measures against COVID-19 and cooperation for the realization of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

2. Bilateral relations

  • (1) Minister Motegi stressed that the future economic partnership between Japan and the UK would be an important foundation for deepening the bilateral cooperative relationships between Japan and the UK after its withdrawal from the European Union (EU), and that an early conclusion of its negotiations was essential. Foreign Secretary Raab also mentioned the importance of bilateral cooperation toward bringing the negotiations swiftly to an end.
  • (2) Minister Motegi noted that it was necessary to minimize adverse impacts of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the companies of the two countries, expressed expectations that the UK and the EU would make efforts to conclude the negotiations between the UK and the EU on their future relationship within the transition period, and also obtained Foreign Secretary Raab’s understanding.

3. Regional situations

  • (1) The two Ministers exchanged opinions on the situation surrounding Hong Kong following the enactment of the National Security Law. They confirmed that they would continue to work closely to ensure the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and the people and companies of other countries are respected. The two Ministers also shared their grave concerns over the recent situation surrounding Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections.
  • (2) The two Ministers affirmed that Japan and the UK have the same position on the issues of the East and South China Seas and that they would continue to coordinate closely on these issues.

4. Security and defense cooperation including “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” cooperation

  • (1) The two Ministers welcomed that Japan and the UK have made significant tangible progress on their security and defense cooperation in recent years, and shared the view on promoting further cooperation including joint exercises, maritime security, addressing “ship-to-ship” transfers, transfer of defense equipment, and joint research.
  • (2) The two Ministers also shared the view that, in light of the merger of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, the two countries would further collaborate on development assistance in ASEAN countries, African countries as well as the Indo-Pacific region from a strategic perspective, and regarding infrastructure assistance, would cooperate to ensure compliance with international standards including the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment.
  • (3) The two Ministers shared the view that they would arrange to hold the next Japan-UK Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”) for face-to-face consultations as early as possible.

5. Measures against COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 cooperation

  • (1) Minister Motegi stated that the development of cures and vaccines was critical to turn a new phase against COVID-19, expressing his expectation for the development of vaccines underway in the UK.  The two Ministers also shared the view that they would take forward international frameworks for developing cures and vaccines and confirmed their cooperation to this end.
  • (2) The two Ministers shared the view that G7 should play an important role in presenting a roadmap for resuming and recovering the world economy and in creating a “post COVID-19” international order.

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