Japan, UK Renew Security Ties

    Japan, UK Renew Security Ties
    Last updated May 19, 2023
    Image credit: Al Jazeera


    • The UK and Japan have signed a new agreement, called the Hiroshima Accord, that is focused on strengthening security ties between the two countries and promoting economic and technological cooperation. The news comes as the UK also committed this week to deploying aircraft carriers to the Indo-Pacific in 2025.[1]
    • The Hiroshima Accord was formally agreed on Thursday between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in advance of the start of the G7 summit, which is being held, this year, in the city famously devastated by an atomic bomb in World War II.[2]
    • Sunak arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday night. On Thursday, he met with Japanese business leaders who unveiled new investment in Britain worth billions of pounds and thousands of jobs, and signed a microchip deal with Japan to help protect supplies from potential disruption by China.[3]
    • Sunak said the returning Carrier Strike Group would "defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and other regional partners."[4]
    • During a visit to a naval base in Tokyo, Sunak also announced a doubling of UK troop numbers to some 170 service members for the upcoming fourth UK-Japan joint "Vigilant Isles" military exercises.[5]
    • G7 leaders, including US Pres. Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Italy's PM Giorgia Meloni, met for the first day of talks on Friday. On the issue of ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Sunak used the summit to platform the message to Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin that G7 leaders were: "not going away."[6]


    Anti-China narrative

    The UK's relationship with Japan has deepened and strengthened at a very fast pace, reflecting Japan's pivotal role in the Indo-Pacific and its centrality to Britain's security and prosperity. In recent months, Britain has joined the CPTPP trade bloc, launched the UK-Japan-Italy Global Combat Air Programme, and signed a ground-breaking defense Reciprocal Access Agreement. As a show of military importance, the UK will send its Carrier Strike Group to the Indo-Pacific in 2025 to help defend peace and stability in this strategically important region.

    Pro-China narrative

    The UK's global influence has been in decline for some time. While Britain still possesses a range of capabilities, it is nowhere near as powerful as it once was. Britain remains relevant only because it can hitch a ride on US hegemony. London has lost its trust and markets in Europe since exiting the EU, forcing it to seek new opportunities in booming economies such as those in the Indo-Pacific region. The UK is boosting its presence in Asia in an attempt to prove it is still relevant in world affairs.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 1% chance that there will be a deadly clash between Japanese and Chinese armed forces before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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