Britain may become the second country after the US to get involved in military cooperation with Japan, ever since the end of the Second World War, Mainichi Daily reports.
London and Tokyo will officially launch bilateral talks on military partnership on April 10th during a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his British counterpart David Cameron.
According to a senior Defense Ministry official, it will take about a year before Japan and Britain complete preliminary negotiations on specific terms for joint weapons development projects. The two countries are expected to start with smaller-scale projects which include a joint production of military technology and equipment. Experts say that Tokyo has no intention of reviving its bygone militaristic ambitions. It’s but trying to earn a little on military cooperation with Britain.
Ever since the Second World War, Japan has been observing a weapons export ban. However, late last year Tokyo eased its weapons export ban principles which paved the way to the joint development and production of weapons and technology with countries with which Japan has security arrangements.
Until then, despite the ban, Japan had jointly developed a missile defense system with the United States as an exception to the ban. Now that Tokyo has embarked on military cooperation with other countries, it has to be remembered that the principles of the weapons exports ban which prohibit weapons supplies to a third country not participating in joint projects are still in force in Japan. But, according to experts, Tokyo will soon ease these principles as well.
Even though Australia, France and a number of other countries have expressed interest in joint weapons development with Japan, Tokyo has selected London as its partner largely because Britain places particularly high expectations on Japanese technology. Moreover, Japan decided to cooperate with Britain in weapons development as compensation for selecting the US-developed F35 fighter as its next-generation fighter rather than the Eurofighter that was strongly recommended by Britain.
Apparently, Britain continues to follow the US policies in many areas, including military cooperation with Japan. London should also feel pleased about “outstripping” its old rival France after Japan has opted for London rather than Paris as its military partner.
It looks like the forthcoming talks between Yoshihiko Noda and David Cameron in Tokyo next week will play into the hands of the British prime minister. Ever since he took office in May 2010, Mr.Cameron repeatedly said that he would strive to cement Britain’s authority on the international scene and would do his utmost to reinstate Britain’s leading positions in the world. A close partnership with Japan will surely contribute to Mr.Cameron’s total score in this fairly questionable race for global supremacy.