The so-called "two-plus-two" ministerial consultations between Japan and the United Kingdom on foreign and defense were held, and the two sides confirmed that they would further strengthen cooperation in the field of security, including joint exercises and joint development of next-generation fighter jets.

The ministerial consultation was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the afternoon of the 7th and was attended by Foreign Minister Kamikawa and Defense Minister Kihara from Japan, and Foreign Minister Cleverly and Defense Minister Shapps from the United Kingdom.

At the outset, Minister Kamikawa stated, "Japan and the United Kingdom are the closest security partners in Europe and Asia, and I would like to further strengthen cooperation to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law."

Minister Kihara also stated, "As partners with shared strategic interests, I would like to have a frank exchange of views with Japan and the United Kingdom to work together to address common challenges in lockstep."

At the meeting, the two leaders confirmed that they would further advance technical cooperation in light of the frequent implementation of complex exercises and the joint development of next-generation fighter jets by 3 among the three countries, including Italy, in response to the entry into force of the "Facilitation Agreement," which stipulates in advance what to do when the Self-Defense Forces and the United Kingdom conduct joint exercises.

In addition, the two leaders confirmed that they strongly oppose China's unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion, and with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, they firmly condemned the terrorist attack by Hamas and shared the recognition that it is important for all parties concerned to make diplomatic efforts to prevent the situation from becoming more serious.

Expert: "UK will further strengthen ties with Japan on military and economic security"

In its foreign and security policy policy revised in March, the United Kingdom raised the position of the Indo-Pacific region to a "permanent pillar of foreign policy" with China in mind, and indicated its emphasis on Japan as "one of the closest strategic partners, including in the security field."

RUSI = Philip Shetler-Jones, Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Institute for Defence and Security Studies, says that the UK aims to further strengthen its relationship with Japan in the security area under Defense Minister Shapps, who took office in August.

Specifically, based on the Japan-UK Facilitation Agreement that came into effect in October, Japan intends to promote cooperation with the Self-Defense Forces to conduct joint exercises, including amphibious operations in the event of a Taiwan contingency, by larger units than before, and to share information that Japan has been collecting about China, North Korea, and Russia.

In addition to the military aspect, he pointed out that the two countries are also focusing on strengthening their economic security in light of countermeasures against cyberattacks and cooperation in the semiconductor field based on the digital partnership signed by the two countries in December last year, as well as the United Kingdom's accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in July.

In addition, Mr. Shetler Jones expressed the view that Japan may be included in this framework in the future, as the United Kingdom plans to jointly develop technologies such as cyber and electronic warfare in the AUKUS, a security framework created by the United States and Australia.