UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty are on their first official visit since taking charge at 10 Downing Street to Japan for the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, where a series of bilateral meetings are also scheduled on the sidelines including with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sunak, who is the first British Prime Minister to visit the site of the World War II atomic bombing, kicked off the tour with a UK-Japan global strategic partnership, dubbed the Hiroshima Accord. The historic pact is seen as central to Britain’s Indo-Pacific tilt and to rival China’s influence in the region.
Sunak said: “It is a privilege to be visiting Tokyo and Hiroshima at this historic moment in the United Kingdom’s relationship with Japan.
“Prime Minister [Fumio] Kishida and I are closely aligned on the importance of protecting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and defending our values, including free and fair trade. The Hiroshima Accord will see us step up cooperation between our armed forces, grow our economies together and develop our world-leading science and technology expertise. It marks an exciting next phase in the UK and Japan’s flourishing partnership.”
The Hiroshima Accord will cover agreements on defence, trade and investment, science and technology collaboration, and joint work on tackling global issues like climate change. Downing Street said Japan’s “pivotal role” in the Indo-Pacific makes strong relations with the nation central to the UK’s security and prosperity.
The UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) military fleet, comprised of an aircraft carrier, escorts and aircraft, which was deployed to the region – including for joint exercises with India – will be deployed again in 2025 will work alongside the Japanese Self Defence Forces and other regional partners to help defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
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As part of the new Accord, the UK and Japan will launch a Semiconductors Partnership, with new commitments to pursue ambitious R&D cooperation and skills exchange, strengthening our domestic sectors and bolstering supply chain resilience in an increasingly competitive market.
Meanwhile, it was also announced that leading Japanese businesses have committed to invest nearly £18 billion in businesses and projects across the UK.
Sunak added: “These new investments are a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s dynamic economy, from some of Japan’s top firms. Working with the government and British industry they will create the kind of high-quality, reliable jobs and transformative local investment we are delivering around the country.
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“It’s great to also see leading UK businesses seizing the huge opportunities for growth and collaboration in Japan. As we grow our trade ties further and join the huge regional CPTPP [Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership] trade bloc, the sky’s the limit for British and Japanese businesses and entrepreneurs.”