One year on
It’s now been one year since I’ve been ambassador here in Japan and 2013 was a wonderful year.
Looking back, we celebrated the 400th anniversary of the opening of commercial relationships between the UK and Japan. We also saw the visit to the United Kingdom of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the signature of a number of really key agreements between our two nations and companies from both our countries.
Last year we had the substantive deals struck between Japan Airlines and Airbus and Rolls-Royce.
We also last year had two great agreements both on defence equipment cooperation and on information security that mean in the coming year the British and Japanese governments and British and Japanese firms will be able to build on those, with much more detailed defence and security partnerships, which will mean that we can together uphold our shared responsibility in maintaining international peace and security.
The year 2014 is looking like a great year as well. Both of our economies in Japan and Britain are recovering well after difficult times—Japan after 15 years of deflation, the UK after the worst recession since WWII.
Trade, investment, research, development—these are the ways in which we can have sustainable growth going forward.
With increasing investor confidence in both of our economies, and with negotiations going well between the EU and Japan on an Economic Partnership Agreement, there’s never been a better time to be investing in both of our countries.
I’m looking forward to seeing closer partnerships that will help us realise the full potential of our political and economic relationship.
But of course we live in a world where change is inevitable. Asia-Pacific is the world’s most dynamic economic region and will continue to be so, but it can at times also feel uncertain.
This year will see events held around the world to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI and it offers us a timely reminder of the importance of learning from history as we embrace an interdependent future.
We’re fortunate that the UK has such a firm friend in Japan, and Japan has a very firm friend in the UK. I look forward to our continued collaboration in the coming year and beyond.
So from all of us here at the British Embassy in Tokyo and the Consulate-General in Osaka, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a safe, prosperous and very happy new year.