In the first speech in Japanese by a UK minister, Jeremy Hunt makes personal commitment to the Anglo-Japanese alliance.
In remarks to representatives from UK-Japan exchange programmes, the Foreign Secretary is expected to say:
I came to this country for the first time in 1990 to learn Japanese. I lived for 8 months in Kyoto, then 6 months in Nagasaki, followed by 6 months in Tokyo. I was introduced to Japan and wonderfully looked after by Japanese families all over the country, and I always try to meet them when I come back.
Today, I am here to take forward the new era of friendship between Britain and Japan. We have so much in common as two island nations who strongly support the rules-based international system that has delivered peace and prosperity for many years
Our friendship stretches back to the Anglo-Japanese alliance of 1902 – and I am sure it will strengthen in the years ahead, not least because for the first time there is a British Foreign Secretary who can speak a little Japanese.
Attendees at the event will include representatives from the Oxford University Alumni Association, who has approximately 1,500 alumni living in Japan, the British Council and Daiwa Scholarships, an Anglo-Japanese Foundation established in 1988 to support closer links between Britain and Japan.
The Foreign Secretary lived in Japan while in his 20s, and will today meet the families he stayed with at the time: the Fujimoto family, who he stayed with in Tokyo; and the Ito family he stayed with in Nagasaki.