U.K., Japan sign defence pact allowing reciprocal troop deployment

The visit and agreement form part of Britain's Indo-Pacific tilt in foreign policy strategy as it builds security and trade ties in the region

Updated - January 12, 2023 12:19 am IST

Published - January 11, 2023 10:17 pm IST - LONDON

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shake hands. | File Photo

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shake hands. | File Photo | Photo Credit: AFP

The U.K and Japan, on Wednesday, signed a defence pact, which will permit the deployment of troops in each other’s countries and increase security cooperation . The move comes as Britain is undertaking a ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific in its foreign and security policy.

“The Reciprocal Access Agreement is hugely significant for both our nations - it cements our commitment to the Indo-Pacific and underlines our joint efforts to bolster economic security, accelerate our defence cooperation and drive innovation that creates highly skilled jobs,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said ahead of the signing ceremony, which took place at the Tower of London on Wednesday afternoon, during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the capital.

Downing Street said the agreement would allow “both forces to plan and deliver larger scale, more complex military exercises and deployments” and called it the most significant treaty between the countries since 1902, when the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Alliance was signed.

Wednesday’s agreement, which was agreed in principle last May, will need to be approved by Westminster and Japan’s Diet, before it can come into force. In December, Japan’s F-X fighter jet program was merged with the UK and Italy’s ‘Tempest’ program to create the Global Combat Air Programme.

The U.K. and Japan had also launched a digital partnership last month, to increase cooperation in semiconductors, cyber resilience and online safety.

Mr. Sunak and Mr. Kishida will also discuss trade, as per Downing Street - specifically Britain’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The two sides will also hold talks on Japan’s G7 presidency (ongoing), support for Ukraine and the supply chain resilience.

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