The 21st Century offers new opportunities for the special partnership between the United Kingdom and Japan, a partnership of shared interests and common challenges. Japan is at the heart of the United Kingdom's policy towards the Asia Pacific region. The United Kingdom remains Japan's partner of choice in Europe. Following the meeting between Prime Ministers Blair and Obuchi in London on 21 June this year, the two countries decided to draw up a new Action Agenda, building on the "Common Vision for the 21st Century" announced in Tokyo in January 1998. Through this new "Action Agenda 21," launched by Foreign Ministers Koumura and Cook in September 1999, the United Kingdom and Japan look forward to closer and more wide-ranging cooperation in the following 21 areas. Progress will be reviewed and updated regularly, including at regular consultations between the Foreign Ministers.


We will strengthen people-to-people links at all levels. Greater understanding, exchange and joint activity, particularly between young people, will contribute to a stronger relationship in the 21st Century.

1. Education

The UK and Japan share common aspirations and concerns about education in the 21st Century. At the recent G8 Summit in Cologne, Heads of State and Government endorsed a Charter on Aims and Ambitions for Lifelong Learning to underline their commitment to raising educational standards everywhere. The UK and Japan will explore how they can best implement that Charter, building on existing cooperation as well as deciding upon new areas for collaboration.

The Japanese Government will continue its support for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) programme. This has so far given about 4,500 young British people the opportunity to learn more about Japan. Both Governments will promote Internet links between British and Japanese schools; and through the 1,200 Assistant English Teachers from the UK currently in Japanese schools (on the JET programme) will encourage the establishment of new school links.

Both Governments will also encourage exchanges of students and teachers, and will explore cooperation through international organisations.

A scheme will be introduced to provide wider opportunities for young British and Japanese people to experience, and develop a fuller understanding of the other's country, culture, people, society and way of life through an extended stay of up to one year in Japan and the UK. During their stay, they will be able to take temporary work in order to supplement their funds for their stay.

2. Culture and Sport

Festival UK98 in Japan gave great impetus to cultural and sporting links. Japan 2001, a major series of Japanese cultural, educational and sporting events to be held throughout the UK in 2001, will strengthen them further. It will promote the introduction of cultural arts, traditional culture, Japanese local culture, pop culture and lifestyle with particular emphasis on participatory events.

Exchanges among sports teams at all levels will be encouraged, as will initiatives aimed at enhancing athletic abilities and exchanges of coaching skills.

The UK will mount throughout Japan, in 2000, a major exhibition of football and football facilities.

3. UK-Japan 21st Century Group

The two Governments will continue to support the UK-Japan 21st Century Group in its aim to provide constructive suggestions to both governments on ways to give further impetus to bilateral cooperation.

4. Parliamentary Exchanges

The successful joint Parliamentary seminar between British and Japanese Parliamentarians in Spring 1998 was the first of its kind. The second seminar will take place in the United Kingdom in 1999. Both Governments support the continuation of these exchanges, which they hope will cover a wide-range of policy areas as well as joint activities designed to encourage closer ties.

Following the successful UK-Japan parliamentary rugby friendly match on October 1998 in Tokyo, Japanese Parliamentarians will participate in the inaugural Parliamentary Rugby World Cup in the UK in September 1999.

5. Exchange of Government Personnel

There is a well-developed and successful series of exchange secondments and training between British and Japanese Government bodies, including Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HM Treasury and Ministry of Finance, Department of Trade and Industry and Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Department of Trade and industry and Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, and Financial Service Authority and Financial Supervisory Agency. The two governments will increase these exchanges through new secondments, short-term exchanges and training opportunities between other departments.

6. Regional Links

Links between the regions of the United Kingdom and Japan will be developed to add a new dimension to the cultural and political relationship at all levels. Both governments will provide information to support regional bodies which are interested in cooperation such as city and town twinning. Japan 2001 will be important in encouraging the strengthening of these links.

7. Non-Governmental Organisations

Civil society has a key role to play in effective development and humanitarian work, and non-governmental organisations are an important part of this. Establishing closer links between British and Japanese NGOs is a useful starting point for closer cooperation on effective engagement with civil society in the UK and Japan, and in developing countries. The UK and Japan will consider ways in which staff from NGOs can work with each other to build up mutual understanding, exchange information and strengthen channels for further cooperation.


Both countries face common challenges in the field of economy, science & technology, health, social security, employment and government reform. Closer cooperation between the UK and Japan in governmental and non-governmental sectors will enhance prosperity in the 21st Century.

8. Trade and Investment

The UK and Japan will work to ensure the business and regulatory environment in each country encourages trade and investment. The UK will continue to ensure that it remains attractive to Japanese manufacturing and R&D investment, which will itself continue to contribute to the development of a high tech, high value economy and to greater understanding between the two countries. The Japanese government is working vigorously to increase inward investments, including from the UK, so the Japanese economy will be internationalized and revived.

Both Governments will continue to support strongly the "Action Japan" campaign which has set the standard for other countries' market campaigns. They will also support deepening of the cooperative relationship between JETRO and British Trade International.

Both Governments will continue to support successful business cooperation in third countries. There will be further cooperation between the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD), and between the Japanese Import and Export Bank and ECGD.

9. Finance

Tokyo and London remain two of the world's largest financial centres. Both countries will promote cooperation amongst British and Japanese financial institutions in order to reform and liberalise markets in both countries.

They will also continue to promote cooperation between budgetary and financial authorities in both countries and exchanges on methods of financial supervision and market reform.

10. World Trade and International Finance

As two of the world's leading trading nations, the UK and Japan share many common perceptions on trade issues. Both Governments will maintain a close dialogue throughout the next round. We look forward to the launch of a new round of comprehensive negotiations at the third WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle, that responds to the various concerns of all WTO members, including developing countries, and would achieve a well-balanced outcome.

Welcoming the progress made by G7 Finance Ministers in international financial reform, both governments will cooperate closely in strengthening the international financial system, including short-term capital flows, reforming international financial institutions, and seeking to involve the private finance sector to a greater extent.

11. Science and Technology

Science and technology links between the UK and Japan are already well-developed. There are already nearly 200 collaborative research projects and over 100 Japanese research facilities active in the UK. Both Governments will encourage closer links through exchanges of young scientists and increased exchange in science, engineering and technology between universities, research institutes and the private sector.

Following talks between the UK and Japan in June 1999, both governments will promote interest in science amongst the general public. Both Governments will also continue to support the "UK Japan High Technology Industry Forum" whose 14th meeting was held in 1999.

Both Governments will promote cooperation on research, quality evaluation and opportunities for improvement and coordination in international science including oceans and the global environment, and greater contact between experts on genome and life-science issues.

The two Governments will find an early opportunity to exchange experience and information on technology transfer from government-funded research and venture capital.

The UK and Japan will maintain a close dialogue on the technical issues in the crucial area of e-commerce.

12. Health and Social Security

Ageing society and related issues of elderly care, disability and social security are major issues for both the United Kingdom and Japan in the 21st Century. Both Governments will promote exchange of experts and exchange of information to tackle these issues. They will also encourage non-profit sector exchanges in the social welfare field.

Both Governments have agreed and initialled a draft of the social security agreement between Japan and the UK, and will work toward its early conclusion.

13. Employment

Reducing unemployment, retraining and preparing the labour market for the 21st Century are key objectives for both countries. These issues have been discussed under the G8 framework. As one of the key issues, G8 Labour Ministers confirmed the importance of the realization of "Active Ageing" at both the Kobe Jobs Conference (November 1997) and the G8 Conference on "Growth, Employability and Inclusion" in London (February 1998). As a follow-up activity to the Kobe Jobs Conference, issues of the employment and the social participation of older persons will be discussed at the Symposium on "Active Ageing" held in Tokyo in September 1999.

The UK and Japan will continue this collaboration on the exchange of experiences and best practice in the area of employment.

14. Reform of Government

Reform of government administration and deregulation are important objectives. Both Governments will promote exchanges, training and information sharing in this area. Both Governments and private companies in each country are already promoting PFI in providing public services and private sector training.


Close cooperation in tackling global issues will help create a better international community. To this end, we will work closely together in preparation for the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit.

15. Diplomacy, National Security, Conflict Prevention and Peace-Keeping

The UK and Japan benefit from close cooperation on a wide range of foreign policy issues, both bilaterally and within the G8. Exchanges, consultation, joint approaches and partnership have contributed to both countries' foreign policy objectives in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans and elsewhere. Both Governments will work more closely to develop their special partnership in foreign policy cooperation.

In addition to cooperation in the multilateral security framework, both Governments will further promote bilateral politico-military consultations, military-to-military consultations, and mutual visits and exchanges of officials at all levels.

Successful cooperation on peace-keeping and peace-building in 1997 and 1998 will be developed further. Both Governments also attach importance to conflict prevention and human security, and are committed to working closely together on these issues, including in the context of the G8 Foreign Ministers' meeting on conflict prevention and resolution to be held in Berlin in December 1999, and during the Japanese G8 Presidency in 2000.

The strategic relationship between the EU and Japan is of increasing importance. The two Governments will work to enhance it further and to develop joint activities. Following successful cooperation between the UK and Japan in the run-up to and during ASEM 2, both Governments will continue to work closely together in preparing for ASEM 3. The UK and Japan will work further to promote ASEM related activities and to participate actively in the review process of the Vision Group report.

16. Reform of the United Nations

Both Governments will continue to work closely together for the early reform of the UN Security Council. The United Kingdom reiterates its strong support for the early realization of Japanese permanent membership of the Security Council.

The two Governments will continue to cooperate closely in various fora to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the UN system, in the interests of all member states, through comprehensive reform in the areas of finance and development.

17. Humanitarian and Development Assistance

Both Governments will continue to seek opportunities for cooperation in poorer countries, including collaboration and cooperation to strengthen working relationships between headquarters and in the field, in international policy discussions, in the exchange of information and in continuing joint evaluations.

Both Governments will also cooperate for a successful series of debt management seminars to be held as part of the follow-up process of the second Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD II) hosted in Japan in October 1998.

A further seminar will be held in October 1999 in the UK, to follow the successful first meeting in Japan in 1998 of a co-chaired seminar on economic development in South Asia.

Both Governments will cooperate in supporting the UN Mine Action Service in its role as international coordinator of humanitarian mine action.

The UK will award a scholarship for development studies in the UK for Japanese students and researchers.

18. Environment

Both Governments will hold annual high-level bilateral talks on environmental issues.

The two Governments are committed to working on joint environmental assistance projects in third countries, exchanges of experts in a number of fields and cooperation on various environment issues. In particular in the area of climate change, both Governments will work closely in an effort to promote a successful outcome in the international negotiations toward the entry into force on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

Both Governments will work towards an agreement for research on endocrine disrupting chemicals, and look for opportunities for collaboration in other fields such as climate change modelling and oil spill clean-up.

19. Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

Taking note of the recommendations made by the "Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, the two governments continue to work closely together in all areas of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Both Governments will work for a successful CTBT Article XIV conference in October 1999, early entry into force of the CTBT, and the early resumption and conclusion of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty. They will press for a successful outcome to the NPT 2000 review conference and implementation by India and Pakistan of benchmarks provided in UNSCR 1172. They will also work for nuclear security in the former Soviet Union and the disposal of surplus plutonium in the Russian Federation.

The two governments will cooperate closely on measures to tackle the uncontrolled proliferation of small arms and light weapons on the basis of the principles in the EU Joint Action on Small Arms, bearing in mind the Secretary-General's report prepared by the Group of Governmental Experts on Small Arms.

Both Governments will work for the promotion of responsibility and transparency in conventional arms transfers; promotion of effective measures to address the problem of missile proliferation; and successful and early completion of negotiations on a verification protocol to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

The two Governments will continue to press for the widest possible ban on anti-personnel landmines in all appropriate international fora.

20. Human Rights

Both the United Kingdom and Japan attach importance to the promotion of human rights at home and overseas. They will hold regular consultations and expert exchanges and seek opportunities for joint projects in third countries.

21. Counter-Terrorism, International Crime and Drugs

Both Governments will hold regular consultations and continue to cooperate closely on counter-terrorism.

Close cooperation on tackling the twin menace of international crime and drugs is already well-developed. Both Governments will seek opportunities to work more closely together.

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