2015-03-07 The US and Japan are reworking their defense relationship.
Australia and Japan are reworking their defense relationship.
Now the UK and Japan are building one.
The first UK-Japanese foreign and defense ministerial meetings were held in January 2015 in Tokyo.
According to a story on the UK government website about the meeting:
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon have met the Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defence Minister Gen Nakatani, in the first ever Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting between the UK and Japan.
During the meeting, the ministers discussed the global security situation, including the challenge posed by ISIL and international terrorism, and what more the UK and Japan can do together in the areas of defence and security to promote international peace and security.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
“The UK and Japan have long shared a very strong relationship. We work together in the G7 and G20 on issues that affect the whole world, including security, energy, cyber crime and healthcare, and we share a common belief in freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
“This week’s appalling threat by ISIL against two Japanese hostages demonstrates just how much these beliefs are at risk, and how important it is we work together to defeat those who would destroy our way of life.
“Today’s discussions have come at an important moment and demonstrate the unity between Japan and the UK, as strategic partners and as friends. We will continue to work together on the dangers we face and the interests we share.”
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“I’m delighted to welcome His Excellency Gen Nakatani here today. This is the first ever meeting of this kind between the UK and Japan. That is not just hugely symbolic, it also clearly reaffirms our resolve to deepen and broaden our defence relationship.
“It will be vital to build on the progress we’ve made today. We therefore welcome the plan for greater cooperation and the important role which Japan is increasingly playing on the international stage.”
Today’s meeting took place at Lancaster House in London and was first announced by the Prime Minister during Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit last year. The Defence and Foreign Ministers also met separately this morning for detailed discussions around their individual briefs, including the wider relationship between Japan and the UK and bilateral trade and investment.
And what might be included in bilateral trade and investment?
The UK is relying on its complex weapons enterprise to link its various airborne weapons platforms, Tornado, Typhoon and F-35 to work together.
Certainly, this is something Japan is interested in.
And being part of the F-35 global enterprise, the opportunity to share technologies will be enhanced as well.
Among other things, a feasibility study on a new air-to-air missile was launched in November 2014.
According to this story written by David Pugliese and published in the Ottawa Citizen on July 22, 2014:
Japan has approved the export of a locally-made component for a missile defense system to the U.S. and is launching joint research with Britain on air-to-air missile technology for fighter jets, Associated Press is reporting.
The approval marks the first defense technology transfer since Japan eased military export rules in April.
More from Associated Press:
The policy change reverses Japan’s 1967 self-imposed ban on arms exports under its war-renouncing constitution. It comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government wants to give Japan a more assertive defense posture.
Under the approval, made by the National Security Council, Japan’s major defense contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. can export seeker gyro, a component for Patriot Defense Capability-2 surface-to-air missile defense system, to a U.S. defense equipment maker Raytheon Co. The gyro is a sensor in the missile to identify, track and chase targets.
Mitsubishi Heavy has been licensed to produce seeker gyros for Raytheon, which stopped producing them itself. The U.S. requested the export, and Mitsubishi-made seeker gyros would be transferred to Qatar, officials said. Japan’s government said the export is primarily to a licensee in the U.S., Japan’s top ally. But the U.S. has exported PAC-2 to nearly a dozen countries including Israel.
Separately, the government also gave a green light to Japan’s joint research with Britain using Japanese seeker technology. It’s a simulation-based project linked to a Meteor missile development among European countries. Defense Ministry official Toru Hotchi said Japanese officials are hoping the research can lead to a technology that can be used for F-35 stealth fighter jets that Japan plans to purchase for its Air Self-Defense Forces.
Mitsubishi Electric, which also supplies missile parts for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces with renowned sensor technology, is a top candidate to participate in the project, aimed at strengthening security and defense cooperation between Japan and Britain, while contributing to Japanese military capability, officials said.
“It would not only strengthen national security and defense cooperation between Japan and Britain, but also could contribute to raise the capability of (Japan’s) Self-Defense Forces in the future,” according to a government statement jointly issued by foreign, defense and industry ministries.
And this story on the Japanese Ministry of Defense website provides a Japanese perspective on the meeting.
On January 21st, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, met the Secretary of State for Defense, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP in London for the Japan-UK Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting.
The Ministers reaffirmed the dynamic strategic partnership between the two countries, as expressed in their Joint Statement on the occasion of Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the UK in May 2014. This sets out a strategic vision of deepening cooperation, based on the shared values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and open and transparent markets, in order to make a positive contribution to global prosperity, peace and stability.
Recognizing the contribution of both countries to global prosperity and security over the last 70 years, the Ministers reaffirmed their desire to work together to defend and protect the global commons, on the high seas, in cyberspace, and in outer space, and to support an international system based on the rule of law and international norms.
The Ministers reiterated that Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea is a clear violation of international law, and emphasised the two countries’ support and respect for the democratic process in Ukraine. The Ministers underlined the need for North Korea to address the international community’s legitimate security and human rights concerns, including the abductions issue. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including UNCLOS.
Emphasizing that states should seek to settle disputes by peaceful means, the Ministers pledged to continue to work together in the G7 and other international fora on foreign policy issues, including supporting Ukraine’s efforts for political stability and economic development and early conclusion of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
The Ministers discussed current regional and global challenges to the rules-based international system, and the rise of non-traditional security threats. In particular, the Ministers expressed strong indignation at the taking hostage of the two Japanese nationals allegedly by ISIL. In this regard, the UK side expressed strong support, solidarity and readiness to cooperate with Japan. The Ministers strongly condemned the recent terrorist incidents in Paris, and reaffirmed their intention to combat terrorism.
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 affirmed the role of the planned EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in boosting growth in the global economy, and reiterated support for agreement in principle in 2015.
The Japanese side paid tribute to the UK’s global role and contribution to international security, and supported the UK’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. The Japanese side set out its ongoing efforts to develop security legislation under its policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace.” The UK side set out the progress made in implementing the reforms outlined in its 2010 Strategic Defense and Security Review. Recognizing the peaceful path taken by Japan since WWII, the UK side welcomed Japan’s security reforms and its recent efforts to play a more active role in international efforts to secure peace, stability, and prosperity.
In this context, the Ministers discussed how to operationalize the comprehensive framework for collaboration in the areas of defense and security outlined by Prime Ministers in May 2014, and looked forward to further discussions.
There has been an expanded opportunity for UK and Japanese forces to work together in operation such as those in international exercises and counter piracy operations.
For example, this November 11, 2014 piece on the UK Royal Navy website provided this example.
HMS Atherstone has spent the last two weeks working in close company with the ships and staff of the Japanese 51st Mine Division in the waters of the Gulf.
The two Japanese Ships Bungo and Yaeyama and their Battle Staff led by Captain Yoshida, had deployed to the Gulf to take part in the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) this November.
HMS Atherstone, under the control of the Japanese Staff, for the purpose of the exercise, participated along with ships from a variety of nations from around the world.
Seeing an opportunity to enhance mutual understanding, HM Ships Atherstone and Shoreham each embedded one of their own Mine Warfare Officers in the Japanese Command Ship Bungo. Lieutenant Alex Coleman, the Operations Officer from HMS Atherstone was one of the lucky ones chosen to join the Staff for the exercise.
“To be at the forefront of UK and Japanese military co-operation was a fantastic opportunity. I enjoyed my time working onboard the Bungo, where the crew showed themselves to be extremely dedicated and exceptional hosts”.
Also see our recent story on increased demands on the Japanese air force from Chinese and Russian air space activities and incursions: