I assume my hon. Friend has in mind the periodic consultations held alternately in London and Tokyo at Ministerial level. The latest round of talks was held in London in January, as my hon. Friend will be aware, and at their conclusion a joint communiqué was issued describing their success and the valuable contribution these regular exchanges have made to the maintenance and further development of good relations between the United Kingdom and Japan. We are now arranging the next round which we hope will be held in Tokyo during the autumn and in which, as my right hon. Friend has already said, he expects to take part.
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that there is an ever-widening trade gap between ourselves and Japan and that there is an increasing view among many people that although Japan at present has no substantial armed forces, sooner or later it must take an increasing part in the defence of peace in South-East Asia?
In view of the steps which have been taken by other nations in competition with Britain, will my hon. Friend takes steps to see that British trade is promoted by these means?