UK expert: Japan-UK agreement signals new era for Japan's security

A British expert involved in policy consultations for the reciprocal access agreement between Japan and Britain says the conclusion of the deal signals a new era for Japan's security.

Jonathan Eyal is Associate Director at Britain's Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, or RUSI.

Eyal suggested that by signing the agreement, Japan has stepped into a new era of security, discarding the "now not very credible criticism that somehow Japan is militaristic."

Eyal described the deal as a result of more than 15 years of discussions.

He said Britain used to emphasize a threat from Russia while Japan highlighting a threat from China. But he said the war in Ukraine has made it clear that both China and Russia pose a fundamental challenge to the status quo.

Eyal indicated the importance of the agreement will lie in promoting defense cooperation, joint defense equipment production, related technology transfer and strategic consultations between Japan and Britain. He added Britain will pursue this objective not just for the cordiality with Japan, but also for its own security.

Eyal pointed out that Britain regards Japan as well equipped militarily and well informed about the security in the region. He said many people in Britain would want to listen to what Japan has to say, and see its leadership on issues such as China and Taiwan.

Eyal suggested that under the new agreement, Japan and Britain will have a relationship of equals where both sides look to each other for guidance and for help, adding he can see only good prospects.

He also said much of it will depend on the relationship between China and Russia, and how that will be seen in the next few years.