NIDS Joint Research Series No.12 / RUSI Whitehall Report 3-15

RUSI-NIDS Joint Research Project
Partners for Global Security: New Directions for the UK–Japan Defence and Security Relationship

The United Kingdom and Japan are seeking to increase bilateral co-operation in politics, security and defence. The two countries are natural partners. Indeed, in the words of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, they are 'a priori partners', insofar as they share fundamental values and interests in upholding the liberal international order. Consolidating their relationship, the UK and Japan signed a memorandum on defence co-operation in June 2012 and reached agreements on defence-equipment co-operation and the security of information in July 2013. These were followed by the first-ever ministerial '2+2' (foreign and defence) meeting in London in January 2015. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Royal Navy also collaborated in providing disaster relief in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in the autumn of 2013. Practical co-operation and dialogues at various levels are becoming increasingly common.

Against this backdrop, the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) in London and the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) in Tokyo, as their respective countries' leading defence think tanks, launched a joint research project in early 2014, which has resulted in this Whitehall Report, also to be published in Japanese in due course by NIDS. This research was enabled by a long-lasting partnership which includes an ongoing exchange of visiting fellows. The RUSI–NIDS relationship was boosted by the June 2012 memorandum on defence co-operation between the UK and Japanese Ministries of Defence, which specifically encouraged the two institutes to pursue further research co-operation.

The main purpose of this report is to present a broad picture of the current UK–Japan defence and security relationship and discuss where further bilateral co-operation might be realised. More specifically, it aims, on the one hand, to provide British audiences with an analysis of the recent developments in both Japan's foreign, security and defence policy in relation to the UK and prospects for UK–Japan collaboration. On the other hand, it offers Japanese audiences British experts' analysis both of the UK's interests in Japan and Asia, and, likewise, of prospects for UK–Japan collaboration. While interaction and co-operation between the two governments is intensifying, the level of public knowledge of what is taking place does not seem to have risen accordingly. This report seeks to fill this widening gap, thereby laying an intellectual foundation on which to advance discussions on the UK–Japan relationship.

  • Japanese version of this report is available from here.
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