Visit November 2013

English Training Agreement Signed

Foreign Secretary William Hague paid an official visit to Japan on 16 October.

Hague’s visit was connected to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s focus on linking British businesses and the British economy with opportunities across Asia.

He declared Japan a “vital ally” for Britain, and said the nation was the second-biggest source of foreign direct investment into the UK.

Hakubun Shimomura, of the Ministry for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and now also Olympics minister, held a meeting with the foreign secretary, who congratulated Tokyo on its selection to host the 2020 Games.

The two officials then witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ministry and the British Council on plans for English education training.

The British Council has supported ministries of education around the world in developing English-language curricula.

According to the MoU, the council will work with MEXT to implement a training model for teachers of English in Japanese elementary, junior high and high schools.

Through the envisioned model, instructors of English would not only develop their own skills, but also share their expertise with teachers nationwide.

Hague also met Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, with whom he discussed issues including global security, an area in which the leaders agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation.

They also touched on ways their respective governments could coordinate humanitarian efforts in Syria. Japan and Britain are two of the top contributors of humanitarian aid to the people of the war-torn nation.

Before leaving, the foreign secretary met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and gave him a London 2012 Olympics torch as a symbol of UK-Japan cooperation.