• Kyodo


The Japanese and British governments are arranging their first “two-plus-two” meeting involving their foreign and defense ministers for late January in London to bolster security cooperation, a source close to the bilateral relationship said Tuesday.

The talks between Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and their British counterparts are expected to cover such issues as speeding up joint research on missile technology and measures to deal with the Islamic State militant group.

Britain will be the fifth nation to hold a two-plus-two security meeting with Japan, following the United States, Australia, Russia and France.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his British counterpart, David Cameron, agreed to set up the framework when they met in May.

The dialogue will be held around Jan. 21, according to the source.

The agenda will include early signing of an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, or ACSA, to enable the Self-Defense Forces and the British military to share supplies and transportation services during U.N. peacekeeping operations.

The ministers intend to reaffirm cooperation in dealing with tensions in Ukraine, the source said.

The Abe administration wants to gain Britain’s understanding of its planned move to submit security legislation including legalizing the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of allies under armed attack, to the Diet next year, according to the source.

Japan also wants to secure British support for its bid to join the U.N. Security Council as a nonpermanent member in next year’s election, the source said. Britain is one of the permanent members of the council, along with China, France, Russia and the United States.

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