The UK and Japan have signed a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) that will expedite security and defence cooperation between the two nations.

The bilateral agreement was finalised during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to London on 11 January, where he met his British counterpart, Rishi Sunak.

The defence agreement involves the establishment of rules related to joint legal and logistics concerns that will lay the foundation for increasing bilateral military exchanges and training.

The RAA will further allow the two nations to deploy their armed forces in one another’s countries. 

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Sunak said: “In the past 12 months, we have written the next chapter of the relationship between the UK and Japan, accelerating, building, and deepening our ties.

“This RAA is hugely significant for both our nations, it cements our commitment to the Indo-Pacific and underlines our joint efforts to bolster economic security, accelerate our defence cooperation, and drive innovation that creates highly skilled jobs.”

The pact is claimed to be one of the UK’s ‘strategic tilts’ to Asia to stand up against the increasing assertiveness of China in the Indo-Pacific.

It will strengthen the UK’s commitment to secure the Indo-Pacific region, enabling the two nations’ forces to plan and execute more complex and large-scale military exercises in the area. 

The latest signing comes a month after Japan announced its participation in the UK’s Global Combat Air Programme. 

In a tweet, Kishida said: “The Japan-UK Facilitation Agreement was signed with the UK. This is the foundation of defence cooperation between Japan and the UK and is extremely significant. It is my hope that this agreement will promote security and defence cooperation between Japan-UK and that progress will be made toward the realisation of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”