UK-Japan bilateral ground exercises will take place for the first time in Japan in 2018 and both countries would take advantage of various opportunities including that of HMS Argyll and HMS Sutherland to the Asia-Pacific region. The announcement was made following a meeting in London on 14 December between the UK and Japanese foreign and defence ministers.
The Ministers reaffirmed that the UK and Japan are close security partners in Europe and Asia respectively. They also reaffirmed commitment to promoting new and comprehensive programmes of co-operation, building on the “UK- Japan Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation”. Both nations welcomed the creation of a joint Action Plan on security and defence co-operation, which will be revised regularly as a living document.
With regard to heightened tensions in the Asia-Pacific region the Ministers reaffirmed that a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is an important pillar of the stability and prosperity of the international community and were committed to strengthening maritime security co-operation. They confirmed that it is of mutual benefit to work together, with partners, to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Japan’s Ministers welcomed the UK’s strengthened security engagement in this region, building on the progress of defence co-operation through bilateral and multilateral joint exercises, such as the UK-Japan bilateral exercise Guardian North on the occasion of RAF Typhoons’ visit to Japan in 2016. Japan was expecting future visits by maritime, land and air forces, including the potential deployment of a UK aircraft carrier. Japan also welcomed the UK’s commitment to the security of the Asia-Pacific region through the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA).
by David Oliver