The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, today signed 2 agreements which will create a legal framework for closer co-operation between the 2 countries on defence and security.
William Hague said:
Japan is a key ally of the UK and we work closely together on many issues of global foreign and security policy. This is a groundbreaking agreement which will enable joint research, development and production of defence equipment.
It will facilitate closer relationships between British and Japanese defence industries, support their endeavours to work collaboratively, and contribute to the already close security and defence co-operation between the UK and Japan, aimed at promoting global peace and stability.
The Defence Equipment Cooperation Framework will put in place the legal understanding that will enable joint research, development and production of defence equipment. The UK is the first country in the world to sign such a comprehensive agreement with Japan since the creation of its Guidelines on the Overseas Transfer of Defence Equipment etc.
The Information Security Agreement sets out the standards and arrangements for the security protection of classified information exchanged between the UK and Japan. This is not limited to the defence field, but the agreement will assist the implementation of the Defence Equipment Cooperation Framework.
The first collaboration project is expected to take place in the area of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protection. Further projects involving industry are expected to follow, and discussions have already taken place on the potential of working together in other capability areas.
The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said:
This is an important step in developing the UK-Japan defence relationship. Government and industry on both sides have worked hard to put these agreements in place and to identify areas of co-operation that will contribute to the security of the UK and Japan and benefit our respective industries.
I am looking forward to working with counterparts in Japan to take forward the range of new opportunities that these agreements will enable.
Head of UKTI DSO, Richard Paniguian, said:
This is an exciting development. I have long felt that there is real potential for UK and Japanese defence companies to work together collaboratively. These agreements now enable this to happen. Both of our industries bring technological expertise to the relationship, and we have high hopes for the successful delivery of joint, mutually beneficial programmes.
Certain of our companies have worked successfully with Japanese counterparts over many years to address the capability needs of the Japanese Self Defence Forces. But these agreements give us the opportunity to take the relationship to a different level.
My organisation has been working closely with British industry, wider government and Japanese stakeholders to identify potential areas for industrial collaboration. Discussions have already taken place on the potential for working together in capability areas such as air defence. We hope to make further announcements on these projects later in the year.
The Framework and Agreement will be placed in the Parliamentary Library.
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