UK and Japan further strengthen defence relationship

The Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary met their Japanese counterparts at Greenwich Naval College as the two nations strengthen their security and defence cooperation.

During the meeting, the Defence Secretary confirmed that HMS Sutherland would visit Japan next year. The news follows the Prime Minister’s announcement in August 2017 that HMS Argyll will also be sent to the country to take part in exercises in 2018.

Both countries agreed a three year defence cooperation plan, which will deliver on the commitment made by Prime Minister Theresa May and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in August 2017 to work closer together on defence issues.

Alongside the Naval deployments the UK will send around 45 British Army personnel to train with Japanese soldiers next year, marking the first time ever that UK personnel have exercised on Japanese soil and the first occasion that non-US troops have exercised in the country.

The UK will also continue to work closely with the Japanese Self-Defense Air Force, with plans for future joint-working after the successful deployment of RAF Typhoons to Japan in 2018.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Japan is one of our closest partners in the Asia Pacific region and as tension grows on the Korean peninsula, our relationship is vitally important.

“2018 will mark the year UK and Japanese forces work even more closely together, with two of our Royal Navy frigates visiting the country and UK troops training on Japanese soil for the very first time.”

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