Tokyo seeks to strengthen its alliances amid rising tensions in the Asia-Pacific with North Korea, Taiwan.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will sign a new agreement to deepen security ties, including a commitment by the UK to deploy a team of the aircraft carrier strike in the Indo-Pacific in 2025.
The so-called “Hiroshima Accord” will also include trade and investment, collaboration in science and technology and joint initiatives to solve global issues such as climate change, according to a statement from Sunak’s office released before the signing in Hiroshima on Thursday.
“The Hiroshima Accord will see us enhance cooperation between our armed forces, develop our economies and develop our world-leading scientific and technological expertise,” Sunak said. “This marks an exciting next phase in the prosperous partnership between the UK and Japan.”
Under the agreement, the United Kingdom will deploy its Carrier Strike Group to the Indo-Pacific by 2025, and double the number of troops in future joint military exercises.
The two countries will also agree to a formal “Consult Clause”, where the UK and Japan commit to consult each other on important regional and global security issues and consider measures in response.
London and Tokyo are deepening ties amid rising tensions in the Asia Pacific over North Korea’s growing weapons program and China’s growing positions on issues such as Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea, which it is admitted almost entirely.
In January, Japan announced plans to strengthen security ties with the United States amid concerns about China, which both countries say is an “unprecedented” international threat. order. Japan is also part of the Quad security alliance with Australia, India and the US.
Japan and the UK will conduct joint Vigilant Isles military exercises in Japan later this year. This is the fourth time the drills have been held and around 170 UK personnel are set to take part, including from 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles and 16 Air Assault Brigade.
The UK’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and a flotilla of Royal Navy ships made its first trip to the region in 2021, traveling through India, Singapore and the South China Sea to South Korea and Japan.
By 2025, the fleet is expected to work with the Japanese Self Defense Forces and other regional partners “to help protect peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific”, the statement said.
The new agreement will also include science and technology programs to support UK-Japan collaboration between universities and companies, the rapid development of green technology and a Semiconductors Partnership.
Sunak will arrive in Tokyo on Thursday and meet with top Japanese business leaders in Tokyo.
The UK is looking to deepen ties with countries outside Europe after leaving the European Union, the world’s biggest market.