Japan: Foreign Relations

Ministry of Defence written question – answered at on 15 March 2023.

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Photo of Kieran Mullan Kieran Mullan Conservative, Crewe and Nantwich

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to strengthen defence relationships with Japan.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

The UK-Japan relationship is the closest it has been for decades. The Integrated review was warmly welcomed in Japan; our Indo-Pacific tilt provided reassurance that we would continue to play an active role on the international stage post-Brexit. Carrier Strike Group21 and the deployment of HMS TAMAR and SPEY have reinforced this view.

The major recent announcements on the Global Combat air Programme (GCAP) and Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 reinforce the UK's position as Japan's closest European security partner. GCAP will see us harnessing the technological and industrial strengths of all three countries for this once in a generation opportunity, which will sustain and future proof our cutting-edge Combat Air Sectors.

Once ratified by both countries in the coming months, the RAA will set out terms and conditions for UK and Japanese personnel undertaking activity in one another's countries. We will use the RAA to plan and deliver longer term, larger scale and more complex joint defence activity with Japan.

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