Japan, UK agree to strengthen security ties

Japan, UK agree to strengthen security ties
From left to right: Japanese Defence Minister Gen Nakatani, British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands during a meeting at Lancaster House ahead of a meeting in London, January 21, 2015.

LONDON - Japan and Britain agreed Wednesday to strengthen bilateral security cooperation, including joint research on defence equipment, in their first "two-plus-two" meeting of foreign and defence ministers.

The two-plus-two framework was set up based on an agreement at a Japan-Britain summit meeting in May last year.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defence Minister Gen Nakatani, and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon attended the meeting.

Britain is the fifth nation to hold a two-plus-two security meeting with Japan, following the United States, Australia, Russia and France.

At the meeting, the ministers from both countries agreed to speed up negotiations aimed at an early conclusion of an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) to allow exchanges of fuel and other materials between the Self-Defence Forces and British military in the wake of major disasters and other situations, and to conduct joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises.

They confirmed a policy to promote joint research on chemical protection suits and missile parts that has already been agreed on by the Japanese and British governments.

The ministers also agreed to enhance collaboration between their respective defence authorities and deepen bilateral cooperation in the field of cybersecurity.

The Japanese side explained the planned development of security legislation to allow the limited exercise of the right of collective self-defence, and the British side expressed support, saying the country welcomed Japan's efforts to play a more active role in international efforts to secure peace and stability.

At a press conference after the security meeting, Nakatani said, "Japan and Britain share values, and it was quite significant to have had a strategic dialogue."

The British side showed interest in the capabilities of Japan's latest domestic Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft at talks between Japanese and British defence chiefs held ahead of the two-plus-two meeting. The two sides will consider possibilities for bilateral technical cooperation in the future.

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