Japan and the United Kingdom signed a post-Brexit bilateral free trade agreement Friday, paving the way for its implementation Jan. 1 next year to ensure continuity in trade and investment beyond the end of London's transition period out of the European Union.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss hailed the "landmark" agreement as promoting free trade and strengthening bilateral ties after inking the deal in Tokyo, with London seeing it as a step to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership grouping 11 Pacific nations.

"It provides British businesses with the gateway to the Asia-Pacific ... and it paves the way for the accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership," Truss said in a joint press announcement with Motegi, referring to the framework that includes Japan, Australia and Mexico and accounts for about 13 percent of the global economy.