On August 1, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, met with the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and First Secretary of State of the United Kingdom, for approximately 60 minutes while at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. The overview of the meeting is as follows:
1. Opening Remarks
Minister Kono congratulated the Foreign Secretary on the assumption of his office and took the opportunity to express his intention to further strengthen Japan’s close relationship with the UK, cooperating on a range of issues including the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific as Japan and the UK has established the closest relationship ever before since the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Foreign Secretary Raab said that cooperation between Japan and the UK is incredibly valuable and expressed his intention to continue to strengthen the relationship.
2. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU
Minister Kono stressed that the withdrawal process should be conducted in an orderly manner based on an agreement with the EU, stating the importance of minimizing the negative impact on Japanese businesses and the world economy. Minister Kono expressed his strong hopes that the UK can continue to be an attractive destination for investment by Japanese businesses. In response, the Foreign Secretary said that to achieve an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, Prime Minister Johnson will shortly be visiting European countries. He also stated his intention to work hard to fully alleviate the concerns of Japanese businesses.
3. Japan-UK relations
- (1)Minister Kono and Secretary Raab shared the view to coordinate on planning for the upcoming Japan-UK Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting (2+2) to be held early in Japan.
- (2)Furthermore, both the Minister and the Foreign Secretary also discussed the Japan-UK economic relations including an establishment of a future economic partnership between their two countries after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Minister Kono welcomed the UK’s interest on a possible membership in TPP11 and expressed his intention to continue to support the UK’s effort through information sharing.
- (3)Minister Kono made a request for cooperation regarding the easing of the EU’s import restrictions on Japanese food and feed from regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and gained the Foreign Secretary’s understanding on the matter.
4. Regional Affairs
- (1)Minister Kono and Secretary Raab discussed the regional affairs, confirming their intentions to continue close exchanges of opinions.
- (2)Regarding North Korea, the Minister and Secretary shared the view to continue close cooperation on the complete denuclearization of North Korea. Minister Kono requested the UK’s understanding and cooperation on the immediate resolution of the abduction issue, gaining the UK’s understanding of the Japanese position.