New British envoy cites challenges


Britain’s next ambassador to Tokyo, David Warren, said he is eager to engage the Japanese on the various challenges facing the two countries when he takes up his post at the end of the month.

“It’s an extremely challenging time for both Britain and Japan. The challenges, and opportunities, from globalization are urgent; the immediate financial climate is very tough and the insecurities that people in both our countries face over this climate are acute,” Warren told Japanese reporters Tuesday at the Foreign Office in London.

“This, however, presents a great opportunity for us to work together to resolve these issues and take forward our cooperation, and I’m looking forward enormously to taking on this challenge,” he added before embarking on what will be his third tour of duty in Japan.

Speaking of the “useful progress” made during Japan’s chairing of the Group of Eight summit, Warren said climate change appears set to be “one of, if not the, most important area” he will be focusing on as ambassador, just as his predecessor, Graham Fry, did.

“We have a longish time scale to work with over the next 18 months as we approach the conference in Copenhagen, which will develop a post-Kyoto framework, but it is one that will be radically affected by political events around the world, not least the U.S. presidential election, and both Britain and Japan have important roles to play in pushing forward the cooperation on climate change around the world,” he said.

He said he is ready to throw a lot of energy into his new responsibility of conveying the British government’s views and priorities to Japan, while also explaining the Japanese government’s perspective back to Britain in return.

“The role of an ambassador is a very privileged role as both a channel of communication as well as a spur to argument and debate, and also as someone who can think of new ways to develop the relationship between the two countries,” he said.