Russia Concerns Prompt UK, Japan Sign New Defense Pact

British Prime Minister Johnson said the militaries of the UK and Japan will work together more closely after the two countries signed a new defense pact during Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s London visit.

Johnson praised Japan for its strong stance against the Russian aggression in Ukraine and drew a parallel with the security situation in Asia.

Johnson stated that the actions of autocratic, coercive powers in Europe signals what may happen in East Asia in the future, which he added is why Britain wants to work more closely with Japan.

Johnson’s office said the deal will allow the armed forces of the two countries to deploy together for training, joint exercises and disaster relief.

The two prime ministers also agreed that democracies around the world needed to stand in unity against authoritarian regimes, according to the office of the Prime Minister statement.

Japan has stood with its Western allies since Russia first launched an invasion on Ukraine on Feb. 24 and joined the West in imposing sanctions against Moscow. It has also sent non-lethal military aid to Ukraine such as helmets.

Japan’s stance over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine emanates from the concern that China, with its military growing increasingly assertive, could make a similar move on Taiwan.

Britain has shifted Indo-Pacific policy since its departure from the EU, and sees Japans as its key East Asian ally. Kishida’s visit is expected to further consolidate the UK-Japan alliance that has been worked on for the last decade or so.

While the relations are becoming much stronger in terms of security, it will be tested by Japan’s willingness to be forthcoming in security outside East Asia, and likewise how far the U.K. can sustain cooperation with Japan outside Europe considering the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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