Having exercised in sea and air domains, and cooperated in cyber in preparation for the coming Olympic games, the UK-Japan “semi-alliance” (Asahi) will soon be cooperating across the full spectrum with land forces exercising together in Japan.
In what has become a regular fixture in the diplomatic calendars, the third UK and Japanese government 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers meeting took place on 14 December in Greenwich Naval College, London (link).
During the meeting, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that HMS Sutherland will visit Japan next year. HMS Argyll will also be sent to the country to take part in exercises next year, as announced by the Prime Minister Theresa May in August 2017.
Alongside the Naval deployments the UK will:
- Send around 45 British Army personnel to train with Japanese soldiers next year, marking the first time ever that UK personnel have exercised on Japanese soil and the first occasion that non-US troops have exercised in the country.
- Continue to work closely with the Japanese Self-Defense Air Force, with plans for future joint-working after the successful deployment of RAF Typhoons to Japan last year.
2018 will mark the year UK and Japanese forces work even more closely together, with two of our Royal Navy frigates visiting the country and UK troops training on Japanese soil for the very first time.
(Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson)
Link to joint statement of third 2=2 meeting here