Global Britain’s Alliance with Japan: Remember Nomonhan

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Two recent publications in the East-West Center Asia Pacific Bulletin series look at how the UK and Japan might continue to develop their “alliance” in future. Reading them produces an echo of the strategic challenge both – as island nations – must historically face: trade-offs and tensions between commitments that must be made towards both  continental and oceanic security partners.
For the UK the Continent means (mostly) the EU, and there is now work to be done re-designing UK-EU security cooperation for the post-Brexit era. The Atlantic alliance has for recent generations resolved the choice of ocean and continent for the UK, but the ‘pivot’ of US attention to Asia (defined not by recent US policy initiatives, but by long term geo-economic trends in Europe as well as Asia) will dislodge NATO centrality in UK defence and security policy. British efforts to revive defence cooperation with Japan is itself part of the response to those trends.

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「新日英同盟」軍事的急接近の背後にあるものとは 英識者が指摘するニーズの一致

link (Japanese language)

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UK-Japan move closer with British Army / Japan Ground Self-Defence Forces exercising together in Japan in 2018

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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 Continue reading

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UK-Japan joint development of air-to-air missile: prototype by 2018

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November 30, 2017 · 7:44 pm

Japan, Britain to deepen “alliance” with new Visiting Forces Agreement

The Japan News reports

Japan and Britain are considering beginning talks next year to conclude a visiting forces agreement (VFA), which would foster smooth activities of the Self-Defense Forces and the British military when they are visiting either nation

VFAs establish the legal status of foreign forces temporarily visiting a nation’s territory for joint exercises, disaster-relief missions and other activities.

 

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Are ‘strategic partners’ the new ‘allies’?

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Is the “Strategic Partnership” the new type of Alliance we have been waiting for? According to Rajesh Basrur & Sumitha Narayanan Kutty in The Hindu, it may not make sense any longer to strive for the exalted status  ‘allies’, because “Alliances are passé“:

We live in a world today driven by “strategic partnerships”. States find themselves in an interdependent system where the traditional power politics of yesteryear doesn’t quite fit. After all, every major relationship characterised by strategic tension such as U.S.-China, Japan-China, India-China is simultaneously one of economic gain. The U.S. and China are each other’s chief trading partners, while China ranks at the top for Japan and India. Besides, India might confront China at Doklam but it also wants Chinese investment.

This is an observation with relevance for the Anglo-Japan relationship as well. According to Busrur and Kutty, strategic partnerships and alliances differ on the following points:

  1. they do not demand commitments to a partner’s disputes with other countries. That means both parties retain the flexibility to continue political engagement and economic cooperation with their common adversary. As a result –
  2. they avoid “entrapment”, or being dragged into a partner’s disputes and potentially into conflict. Instead –
  3. regular high-level political and military interactions facilitate a collaborative approach to strategic policies over a range of economic and military activities.

The aims of major strategic partnerships are described as follows: Continue reading

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James Bond’s Secret Mission: To Revive the Anglo-Japanese Alliance – by Peter Tasker

“James Bond’s half-Japanese son or daughter would be in the prime of life today. As the political storm clouds gather, there could be increasing need for such a person’s talents.”bond3-700x298

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Japan-UK Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation

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LINK to pdf. of the agreement.

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007 shows how Tokyo and London can revive security alliance

007 shows how Tokyo and London can revive security alliance

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Auslin: “Britain and Japan have a unique chance to reshape the world – they should seize it”

Michael Auslin writes –

http://www.aei.org/publication/britain-and-japan-have-a-unique-chance-to-reshape-the-world-they-should-seize-it/

 

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