UK, Japan to sign major defence deal allowing troop deployments - GulfToday

UK, Japan to sign major defence deal allowing troop deployments


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The British and Japanese prime ministers will sign a "hugely significant" new defence deal allowing UK troops to deploy in Japan when the pair meet in London on Wednesday, Downing Street said.

The agreement is the latest sign of London's growing interest in the Asia-Pacific region, and Tokyo's efforts to strengthen its alliances to face the challenges posed by China.


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The deal creates a legal basis for the deployment of British and Japanese troops on each others' territory for training and other operations.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's office called it "the most significant defence agreement between the two countries in more than a century".

"In the past 12 months, we have written the next chapter of the relationship between the UK and Japan — accelerating, building and deepening our ties," said Sunak.

Rishi Sunak
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gestures for a photograph. File photo

"This Reciprocal Access Agreement is hugely significant for both our nations -- it cements our commitment to the Indo-Pacific and underlines our joint efforts to bolster economic security."

Negotiations on the deal, to be signed at the historic Tower of London, began in 2021.

Japan last January signed a similar accord with Australia, and Tokyo has recently overhauled its defence and security policy to address growing pressure from China.

Euan Graham, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, described the deal as "quite a significant step up for both countries in terms of their bilateral defence relationship".

British ships and aircraft can visit Japan and vice-versa, but it's "diplomatically complicated" and requires foreign ministry clearance each time.

The new agreement will create a "standing framework" instead.

That will make it easier for one side to "bring a destroyer to visit your coast guard, or to bring in an army group, or to bring in some Royal Marines who want to train with the Japanese amphibious forces," Graham told AFP.

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