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Second Japan-UK Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting

Joint statement by the Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary of the UK, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence of Japan.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, H.E. Mr. Fumio Kishida, and the Minister of Defence, H.E. Mr. Gen Nakatani, met the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the UK, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP and the Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, in Tokyo on 8 January 2016 for the Second Japan-UK Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting.

The Ministers welcomed progress in defence and security co-operation over the year and reaffirmed the dynamic strategic partnership between Japan and the UK, as set out in the Joint Statement during Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the UK in May 2014.

The Ministers recognised our shared values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and open and transparent markets. They noted that, as close partners, Japan and the UK continue to deepen their cooperation to uphold the international system and norms. The Ministers confirmed that Japan and the UK would cooperate to tackle global security challenges, including through disaster relief and a greater role in UN peacekeeping. Recognising Japan as its closest security partner in Asia, the UK welcomed Japan’s recent Legislation for Peace and Security, and supported Japan playing a more proactive role in securing global peace, stability and prosperity through its policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. Japan welcomed the UK’s 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, which sets out its vision for a secure and prosperous UK with global reach and influence, and its commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence as well as 0.7% of GNI on overseas development. Japan appreciated the UK’s intention and actions as a global power tackling international security challenges including its fight against international terrorism, and would welcome a greater presence by the UK in the Asia-Pacific.

The Ministers expressed concerns about the situation in the East and South China Seas. They expressed their opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, that could change the status quo and raise tension. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They called on all parties to refrain from activities that increase tension and to pursue urgently the settlement of the maritime disputes peacefully in accordance with international law and supported the exercise of freedom of navigation and overflight. They also supported the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties and the early conclusion of negotiations to establish a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. They took note of the ongoing arbitration case under UNCLOS brought by the Philippines, which both sides are following closely, and noted that decisions of the tribunal are legally binding.

The Ministers reiterated their unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; called for a peaceful settlement through the full implementation of the Minsk process; and reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Ukraine’s efforts towards political and economic stability and its reform programme.

The Ministers expressed grave concern over North Korea’s continued development of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. They urged North Korea to comply with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the 2005 Six-Party Talks Joint Statement; and to return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and IAEA safeguards. The Ministers strongly condemned the nuclear test conducted by North Korea on 6 January, which is a clear violation of the related UN Security Council resolutions, the non-proliferation regime and the 2005 Six-Party Talks Joint Statement. North Korea’s actions highlight the serious threat that it represents to international peace and security. They confirmed that Japan and the UK would work urgently on further significant measures in a new Security Council resolution. The Ministers also urged North Korea to end human rights violations immediately and to resolve the abductions issue as soon as possible.

The Ministers reaffirmed Japan and UK cooperation in Southeast Asia, and noted the ongoing coordination for new joint projects, including a seminar on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief for ASEAN to be held in the Philippines in January 2016. The Ministers reaffirmed that both countries would continue such joint efforts and explore further coordination to enhance the capability of Southeast Asian States, especially in maritime security, maritime safety, marine conservation and cybersecurity. To make progress in these new fields of cooperation, the Ministers directed their officials to meet regularly and exchange information and proposals.

The Ministers welcomed international cooperation in counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. They also acknowledged bilateral cooperation during Japan’s command of Combined Task Force 151 for counter-piracy operations. The Ministers instructed their officials to explore joint cooperation projects in Africa, including peacekeeping and peacebuilding collaboration.

The UK looked forward to working closely with Japan in its 2016 G7 Presidency, for a successful G7 Ise Shima Summit, and in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The Ministers emphasised the importance of UNSC reform to address today’s security challenges and the importance of achieving concrete outcomes during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly. The UK reiterated its strong support for Japan’s permanent membership of the UNSC.

The UK welcomed increasing Japanese participation in NATO exchanges and joint exercises, and looked forward to further deepening of Japan-NATO cooperation through enhanced partnership. The UK also expressed support for future Japanese engagement with the EU on Common Security and Defence Policy issues.

The UK welcomed Japan’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security as announced by Prime Minister Abe in September 2015. The Ministers confirmed that Japan and the UK would explore opportunities to cooperate on Women, Peace and Security and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative at the UN and as part of Japan’s G7 Presidency.

The Ministers discussed the rise of non-traditional security threats. In particular, the Ministers condemned strongly the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere which killed and injured many innocent people. The Ministers expressed their commitment to cooperate to reduce the risk of terrorism for our citizens, and to coordinate closely on developing approaches to tackle drivers of instability in the Middle East, Northern Africa, the Sahel, as well as the threat of Daesh/ISIL. The Ministers confirmed that the Japan-UK Counter-Terrorism Consultation, most recently held in October 2015, was an effective framework for cooperation, and committed to identify ways to work together in areas such as Indonesia and Kenya and on aviation and border security.

Recognising the shared challenge posed by malicious cyber actors, the Ministers decided to strengthen information-sharing and cooperation in cybersecurity. The Ministers welcomed the next high-level Japan-UK bilateral consultations on cyberspace scheduled for spring 2016.

The Ministers welcomed progress made on the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), recognising it as an important pillar in the framework of security cooperation between both countries. To this end, the Ministers urged negotiations to conclude at the earliest possible opportunity. The Ministers also directed their officials to discuss ways to improve administrative, policy and legal procedures to facilitate joint operations and exercises. In addition, the Ministers discussed how to operationalise the comprehensive framework for collaboration in defence and security, as outlined by Prime Ministers in May 2014, and looked forward to further discussions.

The Ministers recognised the work of the Japan-UK High Level Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation Steering Panel and the deepening cooperation on defence equipment and technology and reaffirmed further cooperation. Following the success of the first feasibility study on a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM), the Ministers confirmed discussions would move to the second stage. They welcomed the progress made on the ongoing Chemical and Biological Protection Technology Cooperative Research Project, and confirmed that they would start a new joint study on personnel vulnerability evaluation.

The Ministers welcomed the growing number of exchanges and joint training and exercises between the Japanese Self-Defence Forces and the British Armed Forces including the visit by the Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft to Miho Airbase in Tottori Prefecture, Japan, in October 2015. They confirmed that Japan and the UK would continue developing this programme of cooperation, including: continuing joint exercises on mine sweeping in the Gulf; considering cooperating to improve amphibious capability; and improving counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) capability. They also confirmed they would pursue the visit of RAF Typhoon aircraft to Japan in 2016. Japan welcomed the UK’s planned participation in Pacific Partnerships 2016. The Ministers decided to explore possible cooperation between Japan, the UK and other regional partners, including through joint exercises.

The Ministers renewed their determination to continue their cooperation for a peaceful and secure world free of nuclear weapons. The Ministers underlined the crucial importance of the NPT. They stressed the importance of promoting practical and concrete measures, as both countries have voiced in international fora in support of nuclear disarmament; non-proliferation; and peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology under the cooperation of both nuclear-weapons States and non-nuclear-weapons States.

The Ministers welcomed the close cooperation in civil nuclear energy, as confirmed at the Fourth Annual UK-Japan Nuclear Dialogue in London last month. Japan and the UK see each other as natural partners to pursue further opportunities and deepen what is a historic relationship for the long term. The UK welcomed Japanese industry involvement in the UK’s new build programme as part of a broad, strategic industrial partnership between the two countries. Japan and the UK recognised that the complementary strengths of British and Japanese companies in the civil nuclear sector gives them the opportunity to pursue more strategic partnerships for mutual benefit and gain.

The Ministers noted the importance of a stable security environment for social and economic prosperity, and the threat posed by climate change to global security and prosperity. They welcomed the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, a historic turning point in the fight against dangerous climate change, and resolved to maintain dialogue on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and other climate issues to give momentum to the implementation of the deal through the G7 and other fora.

The Ministers recognised the mutual importance of the long-standing and prosperous Japan-UK trade and investment relationship. They recalled that Japan is the biggest source of historic Foreign Direct Investment into the UK after the US and a key partner in Europe in the automotive, rail, and renewable and nuclear energy sectors. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of a highly ambitious and comprehensive EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement to boost global growth. They supported the aim of the EU and Japan reaching agreement on this, encompassing all key issues, as early as possible in 2016.

The Ministers expressed their pleasure in the developments in information sharing and analysis since the establishment of the Information Security Agreement.

The Ministers confirmed their commitment to cooperate for the safety and security of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, with work focussing on such key areas as counter terrorism and cybersecurity. They planned to intensify bilateral consular cooperation in ensuring the safety of British and Japanese nationals overseas, in the run up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan, and in response to international crises.

The Ministers instructed their respective officials to closely follow up the results of today’s Meeting and report to the next Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting.

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