Several new agreements have recently been finalised between the UK and Japan, following on from the G7 foreign ministers meeting which took place in Hiroshima between the 7th and 8th of November.
Of all the topics that were discussed, two major points of increased cooperation have emerged: increased cooperation in defence and security, and an increased commitment to the development between its citizens. These are the results of discussions that took place on the sidelines of the meet, as well as those that took place prior in the earlier G7 meet in May.
In terms of security and defence, the UK and Japan have agreed closer cooperation mostly due to the increasing presence of China. The agreement allows both countries to mutually enter each other’s territories primarily for the purpose of undertaking joint military drills and exercises, which are to be expanded going forward.
It forms part of what is known as the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) which allows access to military personnel but it also has other effects; it brings the two countries closer to what could be considered ‘allies’ which as of yet only the USA is allied with Japan. It has also prompted a joint project between the UK and Japan to develop a next-generation fighter jet by 2035.
In terms of development of its citizens, this refers to the expansion of both countries’ working holiday visa programs. Currently Japan issues 1000 of these visas to the UK and the UK issues 1500 to Japan; the new limit will increase to 6000 for both countries. The expansion aims to strengthen ties as well as the interaction between its people and cultures.
It’s an expansion that will be welcomed by many as the current number of applications far outweigh the number of visas available, granting successful candidates to live and work in the opposing country for up to two years.