Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Everything old is new again... in this case being the United Kingdom and Japan are back in the defense cooperation business. Not quite a return to the old alliance, but a very positive step.

Oh, you thought UK PM David Cameron's visit to Japan was some high-level summitry on some matter of International Importance? Well, trade is important, and ~40 members of Cameron's entourage are business representatives... but most of them are looking for Defense deals... and it looks like the deal is done:
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his British counterpart David Cameron agreed Tuesday to pursue joint development of weapons and equipment, marking the first such development for Japan with a country other than its main ally, the United States.
Here's a longer version of the story, although written just before the visit:
"I hope to discuss these issues with Prime Minister (Yoshihiko) Noda so that we can pave the way for our defense ministers to agree more formal cooperation when they next meet," Cameron said.

"I believe stronger cooperation on defense will provide benefits for both countries in terms of jobs and investment as well as reducing the cost of defense equipment upon which we both rely," the prime minister added.

Britain will be only the second country to collaborate with Japan in this sector. Tokyo and Washington had cooperated on several defense projects as exceptions to the ban before it was lifted in December.

According to British media reports, the agreement on joint weapons development between London and Tokyo will initially focus on nonlethal equipment and could lead to Japan investing in several projects including the purchase of combat ships and helicopters.
Combat Ships, you say... hmm. Given the cost of the F-35 program with the U.S.A. and the loss last year (in the earthquake/tsunami) of an entire squadron of Japan's extremely expensive F-2 fighters, you'd at least think that the possibility of reopening discussions on Combat Aircraft would be on the table...

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