Back in March, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak passed through Tokyo on his way to the G7 Summit in Hiroshima. The reception held at the landmark Mori Tower in Roppongi was a significant event gathering a key group of Japanese and British business leaders and presenting the opportunity to announce a record £18bn investment into the UK economy, plus significant examples of UK companies contributing to and collaborating with the Japanese market. Octopus, Mott MacDonald and Leonardo were highlighted as examples of significant UK companies doing business in Japan, with Transreport, Winnow and Oxentia namechecked as new successes in exporting their products and services into the Japanese market. At the G7 Summit PM Sunak and PM Kishida announced the Hiroshima Accord, an underscoring of the strength of the UK-Japan bilateral relationship.
In addition to the headline Summit, important ministerial meetings under the G7 umbrella took place throughout the year and in various locations around Japan.
The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt attended the Finance Minister’s and Central Bank Governor’s meeting in Niigata, with the UK leading efforts to encourage support for vulnerable countries, tackle economic coercion and further sanction Russia, to ensure strong supply chains and stable economies in which to continue trade relations.
The then Foreign Secretary, James Cleverley, attended the first Foreign Minister’s get-together in Karuizawa, Nagano in April. He then returned in November for the second Foreign Minister’s meeting. During his second visit he signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on People to People links, encouraging better business and travel flows between the UK and Japan.
Other G7 engagements saw British ministers meet counterparts and engage in particular with the host nation representatives. This included the shared ambition for net zero transition and a joint statement on renewables, the continued collaboration on advanced defence capabilities under the GCAP, as well as fruitful discussions on health and welfare, employment issues, transport and infrastructure.