The UK and Japan have agreed to commence formal negotiations on a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) to deepen the defence relationship between the two countries.

Japan is a vital and like-minded partner for the UK in the Indo Pacific region. This Agreement, when concluded, will help enable the two countries and their militaries to work together to address global security challenges and counter shared threats.

Importantly, it matches the UK’s strategic shift in effort and resource to the Indo Pacific, as set out in the Integrated Review in March. These talks will bring that commitment into reality and send a clear signal about the UK and Japan’s determination to deepen bilateral defence cooperation and support for the rules-based international order.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“Japan is Britain’s close security partner in Asia, with shared values and common strategic interests. This sends a clear signal about our determination to deepen bilateral defence cooperation, and the UK’s commitment to the Indo Pacific region.”

The aim is to create the conditions for a deeper, more regular and complex defence engagement programme, setting out the terms and conditions for UK and Japanese personnel undertaking activity in one another’s countries which makes bi-lateral activities like training and joint exercises easier and quicker to facilitate – consequently feeding into a more regular programme of events.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

“Deepening defence ties with Japan is an important part of our commitment to ensuring an open and secure Indo-Pacific and a clear demonstration of Global Britain in action.

“Our two island democracies believe in the same fundamental freedoms and a strong economic and security partnership with Japan is crucial to Britain’s long-term interests.”

The commencement of talks comes soon after the UK’s Carrier Strike Group visited Japan, in a sign of our firm commitment to supporting shared security challenges in the region.