1. Signing a "landmark" defense agreement with Japan will increase economic security. According to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the United Kingdom and Japan have inked a "landmark" defense pact that would strengthen economic security and reaffirm their commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.
2. Sunak posted on Twitter and stated, "A historic defense pact that Prime Minister @Kishida230 and I signed this week solidifies our commitment to the Indo-Pacific and increases our economic security. As democracies, the UK and Japan stand together."
3. This tweet was sent after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's trip to Britain, the third of five nations he will visit as part of Japan's efforts to prepare for the success of the G7 summit, which will take place in Hiroshima from May 19 to 21.
4. According to The Japan Times, who dubbed the agreement "landmark," it will enable the armed forces of the two nations to plan and carry out military exercises and deployments on a larger and more complex scale. It will also specify jurisdiction in the event that a service member is involved in a crime or accident that occurs in the other nation.
5. The deal, hailed as the most important defense treaty between London and Tokyo in more than a century, and is expected to "rapidly accelerate" the two nations' already expanding defense and security cooperation as fears about China's military ambitions in the Indo-Pacific area mount.
6. It is important to note that this agreement is the third for Tokyo overall and the first of its kind with a European country.
7. The agreement will be presented to the parliaments of Britain and Japan "in the coming weeks," according to Sunak's office.
8. According to The Japan Times, Sunak said in a statement, "This Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) is enormously significant for our nations — it cements our commitment to the Indo-Pacific and underlines our joint efforts to bolster economic security, accelerate our defense cooperation, and drive innovation that creates highly skilled jobs."
9. The Asian giant has been a driving force behind Britain's strategic "tilt" toward the Indo-Pacific area, and although the UK leader did not specifically name China, Sunak seemed to imply that competition with Beijing, among others, was probably in mind when concluding the deal.
10. "Democracy societies must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder as we manage the extraordinary global problems of our day," he added. "In this more competitive world, it is more necessary than ever."
11. The deal, which the Japanese Foreign Ministry hailed as a landmark, will "push Japan-UK cooperation in security and defense to new heights," according to the ministry.
12. Additionally, it would advance efforts to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, according to the statement.
13. The signing of the RAA will be seen as yet another illustration of Tokyo's desire to forge ever-closer security relations with a range of partner nations amid rising Sino-US tensions, particularly as Japan's fears about the future of democratic Taiwan intensify, according to The Japan Times.
14. China sees the autonomous island as a province that should be reunited with the mainland, maybe via force. According to analysts, any conflict over Taiwan, which is strategically located close to important sea lanes for trade, would have profound effects on both Japan and Europe.