Japan-UK summit talks

June 2008

On Monday June 2, Prime Minister Fukuda and Prime Minister Brown held summit talks at 10 Downing Street for approximately 50 minutes from 11:35 am. A summary of their discussion follows.

Main points

  • The talks served to deepen the ties of trust between the two leaders ahead of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit due to take place in July.
  • The two leaders agreed to work together closely and to cooperate on a host of international issues including soaring primary product and crude oil prices as well as financial market turbulence so as to help ensure the success of the summit.

Summary of the discussion

1. Bilateral relations

Prime Ministers Fukuda and Brown were of one mind that, in the year in which we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the United Kingdom, which will be celebrated by a series of special events, the two countries should bolster their ties still further.

2. G8 Summit

(1) Overview

On the G8 summit, Prime Minister Fukuda declared that, on the major topics such as the global economy, the environment and climate change, development and Africa, and sharply rising food prices, he wanted the G8 to provide a unified message and wanted to ascertain Prime Minister Brown's thoughts on these issues.

(2) Global economy

Prime Minister Brown replied that the forthcoming G8 summit would take place at a crucial time when the international community was facing a number of difficulties and was looking to the G8 to come up with a powerful statement on them. He felt that the most serious issues confronting the international community were the sharp rise in primary product and crude oil prices together with the credit crunch, and that the world was looking out for a statement from the G8 on these matters. As for crude oil prices in particular, he underlined the importance of a substantial dialogue between producing and consuming countries, and expressed his appreciation to Japan for agreeing to his suggestion to include food prices on the summit agenda.

For his part, Prime Minister Fukuda agreed on the importance of dialogue between producers and consumers, and felt that on the demand side it was crucial to use technology to curb the need for crude oil.

(3) Environment and climate change

Prime Minister Brown praised Japan's efforts to make progress on the subject of climate change at the G8 summit and affirmed the UK's intention to cooperate with Japan on this issue. He declared that, in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the emissions trading system should be expanded in the carbon market and that he hoped Japan would play a part in this. In response, Prime Minister Fukuda stressed the importance of eliciting positive action from the newly emerging economies such as China and India and declared that for this reason it was important for the G8 summit to issue a strong message. He added that Japan was considering emissions trading from a broad viewpoint.

In addition, Prime Minister Brown addressed the subject of financial assistance for developing countries, to which Prime Minister Fukuda replied that Japan was pressing ahead with its "Cool Earth Partnership".

(4) Development and Africa

On this subject, Prime Minister Brown acclaimed Japan's initiative at TICAD IV, especially its doubling of aid for Africa, and wanted this topic, based upon the outcome of TICAD IV, to be discussed at the summit. He also wanted education and health to be given special attention on that occasion.

In response, Prime Minister Fukuda said that statements on health, water and education would be issued at the summit, and that these issues should be linked to the high-level talks on the Millennium Development Goals at the United Nations scheduled to take place in September, at Prime Minister Brown's initiative.

3. Reform of international institutions

Prime Minister Brown spoke about the need for the reform of international institutions. Agreeing, Prime Minister Fukuda commented that this should always take place in accordance with the prevailing circumstances and that Japan placed particular importance on the reform of the United Nations, concerning which it hoped for British cooperation. Prime Minister Brown replied that the United Kingdom would continue to cooperate with Japan on this matter.


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