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In a speech delivered in Tokyo at the RUSI-SPF UK-Japan Strategic Dialogue in 2013, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, described the UK and Japan as a priori partners – in other words, both countries share common values which encourage co-operation. Beyond common values, identifying how the UK and Japan can deepen the partnership in practical terms is the subject of ongoing debate. In recent years, counter-piracy, cyber-security, intelligence-sharing, and defence industry have all been areas of deepening exchange. Yet the interests of London and Tokyo are not identical, and the expectations that both sides hold for the relationship need to be managed.
Japan, under the Abe administration, is increasingly seeking likeminded partners to bolster its international network and help preserve the framework of international rules and norms that have recently come under heavy strain. The UK, for its part, is still searching for the optimum level of engagement with Japan and its neighbours, conscious at once of its reliance on the international norms that Japan seeks to strengthen, its own interests in building strong diplomatic relationships with Japan’s competitors such as China and the dwindling resources with which the UK has to work.
In Partners for Global Security a team of RUSI and NIDS researchers address the potential for deeper UK–Japan co-operation across a range of ‘growth areas’. They identify the challenges ahead and the opportunities for both countries to benefit from a closer engagement.
About the Authors
Dr Jonathan Eyal is the International Director at the Royal United Services Institute and Editor of RUSI Newsbrief.
Dr Tomohiko Satake is a Senior Research Fellow at NIDS.
Edward Schwarck is a Research Fellow in Asia Studies at RUSI.
Peter Roberts is a Senior Research Fellow at RUSI, leading the Sea Power and C4ISTAR research programmes.
Dr Michito Tsuruoka is a Senior Research Fellow at NIDS.
Akira W Jingushi is a Research Fellow at NIDS, where his research focuses on conflict and peace-building in Africa.
Trevor Taylor is Professorial Fellow in Defence Management at RUSI and Emeritus Professor of Cranfield University at the Defence Academy of the UK.