Japan-UK security cooperation agreement to take effect on Oct.15

A new agreement between Japan and the United Kingdom aimed at strengthening bilateral security cooperation is set to take effect on October 15.

Japan's government decided on the date at a Cabinet meeting on Friday. It comes after Japan's Diet approved the pact and the British government completed the necessary domestic procedures.

It will be Japan's second security cooperation agreement to come into effect, after the one with Australia.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement will apply when Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the British military hold joint drills and other activities in each other's countries.

It covers matters such as the handling of weapons and ammunition and the right to exercise jurisdiction in the event of incidents or accidents.

At a news conference after the Cabinet meeting, Defense Minister Kihara Minoru said Japan and Britain are the closest security partners in Asia and Europe.

He went on to say Japan's Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces plan to utilize the agreement at an early date and will deepen security cooperation with Britain.

Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force and the British Army plan to hold joint drills in Japan in November. Arrangements are underway for applying the agreement.