Kishida, Sunak Sign Japan-Britain Security Pact

Carl Court/Pool via REUTERS
Britain’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, walks with Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, after signing a defence agreement at the Tower of London on January 11, 2023 in London, England.

London, (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his British counterpart, Rishi Sunak, signed an agreement Wednesday to facilitate visits by Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel and British troops to each other’s country.

The two leaders signed the reciprocal access agreement during a meeting in London as part of efforts to reinforce their countries’ security cooperation amid China’s increasingly hegemonic moves and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Britain is the second country with which Japan has such a pact. The only predecessor is Australia, which Tokyo regards as a quasi-ally.

The agreement “brings the security cooperation between Japan and Britain to a new level,” Kishida told reporters. “I expect that moves to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region will progress further.”

Kishida and Sunak welcomed a plan for Japan, Britain and Italy to jointly develop next-generation fighter jets and agreed to hold a two-plus-two security meeting of their countries’ foreign and defense ministers early.

The two leaders also called for boosting efforts to conclude negotiations on Britain’s possible participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade deal led by Japan.

On Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kishida and Sunak underlined the importance of ensuring unity among the Group of Seven major democracies to continue to provide support to Ukraine while keeping strong sanctions in place against Russia.

The leaders confirmed their rejection of any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force in the East and South China seas. They also agreed to work together in countering China’s increasing economic coercion and shared a view on the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Kishida told Sunak that he will demonstrate the G-7’s determination to reject threats to use nuclear weapons and actual use of the arms and uphold an international order based on the rule of law, at the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, western Japan, in May. Sunak expressed his full support.