SDF drills with British Army

UK-Japan News October 2018

The British Army and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces conducted their first joint exercise in Japan between the end of September and mid-October, The Japan Times reported on 15 September.

The Defense Ministry’s Ground Staff Office was quoted as saying 50 British Army personnel and 60 members of the SDF, mostly from the Ground Self-Defense Force, would take part in drills in Shizuoka, Yamanashi and Miyagi Prefectures.

The move follows drills involving the Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Air Force in 2016, and the Marine Self-Defense Force and the Royal Navy in April last year, the report said.

Meanwhile, preparations are under way for close cooperation between the UK and Japan on surveillance to monitor North Korean activities at sea.

The British Army and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Photo: Blackmane Media

Ishiguro honoured in London with Order of the Rising Sun

UK-Japan News October 2018

British author Sir Kazuo Ishiguro OBE was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by Japanese Ambassador to the UK Koji Tsuruoka at a ceremony at the Embassy of Japan in the UK, The Japan News reported on 13 September.

Ishiguro, who was born in Japan but moved to the UK aged 5, was awarded the Japanese citation earlier this year, after winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature. The ceremony, at the embassy in London, took place on 12 September, the report said.

Speaking at the event, the author said he was satisfied that progress had been made in the diminishing and disappearance of the shadow of World War II and its impact on the friendship between Japan and the UK.

Sir Kazuo Ishiguro received his honour from Japanese Ambassador to the UK Koji Tsuruoka.
PHOTO: Embassy of Japan in the UK

Prince opens Japan House

UK-Japan News October 2018

The Duke of Cambridge offered condolences to Japan following the recent earthquake in Hokkaido and typhoons in Western Japan, as he opened a new Japanese culture centre in London, The Japan News reported on 14 September.

Prince William led a toast to mark the grand opening of Japan House at the event, before offering his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the disasters, the report said.

At the opening, also attended by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, the prince said he was pleased to see relations between Japan and the UK flourishing.

British Airways to begin direct London–Osaka flights

UK-Japan News October 2018

British Airways will begin operating a direct route between London’s Heathrow Airport and Kansai International Airport in Osaka in the spring of 2019, The Mirror reported on 25 September.

The report said four flights a week would by plying the route, which begins operations on 31 March and will use Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.

It added that British Airways had previously offered flights to Osaka, but the service was suspended in October 1998.

The new service is part of an agreement between British Airways and Japan Airlines, which will also see code sharing flights from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Miyazaki, Kumamoto, Komatsu and Matsuyama.

Hotel Chocolat sets sights on Japan market

UK-Japan News October 2018

British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat announced it would pursue global expansion with a focus on three international markets, including Japan, The Telegraph reported on 25 September.

The brand, which already has outlets in Denmark and Hong Kong, and a cocoa plantation and hotel in St Lucia, will open its first American outlet in New York and see franchises open in Japan and Scandinavia, the report said.

Angus Thirlwell, the firm’s chief executive, was quoted as saying that he wanted Hotel Chocolat to become the “global leader in premium chocolate”.

PHOTO: Hotel Chocolat

Ely opens 1st sake brewery

UK-Japan News October 2018

The first sake brewery in the UK has opened its doors, after an official ceremony for VIP guests including the Japanese Ambassador to the UK Koji Tsuruoka, it was reported by Cambridgeshire Live on 23 September.

Dojima Sake Brewery at Fordham Abbey in Ely, Cambridgeshire, opened on 1 October, International Sake Day, with tours and samples for visitors.

Fordham Abbey also has a Japanese tearoom, restaurant and pottery workshop for visitors to enjoy, the report added.

The new brewery uses traditional methods from the Dojima family, which has been brewing sake since 1828, the report said, adding that three types of sake will be on offer, one of which is only available on tours of the facility.

UK, Japan to monitor N Korea activity at sea

UK-Japan News September 2018

The HMS Argyll will be deployed to Japan to help with surveillance operations.

The UK and Japan are working on conducting joint surveillance activities later in the year in a bid to spot illegal ship-to-ship goods transfers by North Korea, The Japan News reported on 20 August.
The surveillance will be carried out in November and December, following the arrival in Japan of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll, the third UK Navy vessel to visit Japan this year following HMS Sutherland and HMS Albion, the report says.
It adds that the ship will use US military bases in Japan, and will also be involved in joint exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.
North Korea has been accused of violating international sanctions by carrying out illegal ship-to-ship goods transfers on the high seas.

Naval drill off for typhoon

UK-Japan News September 2018

The UK and Japan cancelled a joint beach landing naval drill near Mt Fuji due to a typhoon which was approaching the Japanese mainland, Japan Today reported on 22 August.
The drill, involving a detachment of Royal Marines and Japanese amphibious troops, was set to see soldiers land on the beach from boats launched by HMS Albion, a Royal Navy amphibious assault carrier that visited Japan, according to the report.
A Japanese destroyer and helicopters had also been scheduled to take part in the exercise.
Typhoon Cimaron brought strong winds and rain to the Japanese archipelago, after arriving from the western Pacific.

London looks to Tokyo over future of British banks in EU

September 2018

The UK government is looking at the relationship between Japanese banks and the European Union as an example for British banks to follow after leaving the EU, The Japan Times reported on 21 August.
A government paper states that the UK wanted equivalence, where the EU recognises rules as strict as its own, but a more generous version than that which other non-EU countries have, the report says.
It also says that the pact between the EU and Japan had been cited as an example for the rules the UK wanted, as this allows for taking into account the impact of each other’s decisions and regulatory dialogue between the two.

Tokyo, Osaka firms fund deal for offshore wind farm off Lincs

UK-Japan News September 2018

Innogy SE already operates a number of wind farms off the coast of the UK.

Two major Japanese energy firms are to help finance a new offshore wind farm in the UK in a £1bn deal, The Telegraph reported on 13 August.
The Electric Power Development Co., Ltd., better known as J-Power, and Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. have bought a combined 41% stake—25% and 16%, respectively—in the Triton Knoll project from German renewables firm Innogy SE.
The investment in the plant, off the coast of Lincolnshire, marks the first time Japanese energy firms have made a major move to enter the UK’s wind power market, according to the report.

Scotland, Yokohama ink pact on closer ties

UK-Japan News September 2018

Fiona Hyslop met representatives of the City of Yokohama.

Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop signed a joint declaration of cooperation with Mayor of Yokohama Fumiko Hayashi, the Sankei Shimbun’s Japan Forward website reported on 13 August.
Hyslop, who was on a three-day visit to Japan, also took part in a sell-out seminar on diversity and inclusion organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
The agreement between Scotland and Yokohama includes close cooperation in sport, education, culture and marine industries, according to the report.
Hyslop’s trip to Japan ended with a tourism networking lunch at the British Embassy Tokyo.

Blended in Osaka, bottled in UK

UK-Japan News September 2018


A new Japanese whisky has been launched. The drink was bottled in the UK after having spent three months maturing at sea on the voyage from Japan, The Spirits Business reported on 15 August.
Kaiyo whisky was blended and aged in Japan, before being loaded in mizunara oak casks bound for the UK. The firm behind the drink says the casks were subject to changes in temperature and air pressure, and the whisky inside would also have been impacted.
The whisky was bottled on arrival in the UK, and is being sold in regular, cask strength and peated expressions.

Campsie Fells SME to sell whisky souvenirs to Japan

UK-Japan News September 2018

A Scottish firm hoping to sell its wares to whisky lovers in Japan has been awarded a grant from the Department for International Trade and London Heathrow Airport, Passenger Terminal Today reported on 22 August.
Reza Wood Designs, which recycles whisky barrels from Scottish distilleries and turns them into handcrafted items for whisky fans, said it plans to use its £2,000 grant from the World of Opportunity 2018 campaign to help it enter the Japanese market.
The scheme saw grants awarded to 20 small and medium-sized enterprises, including a tea firm, a family-run bicycle business, and a gourmet crisp maker.

England lose to Japan in Women’s Under-20 World Cup

UK-Japan News September 2018

England lost to Japan in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the BBC reported on 20 August.
Despite Mo Marley’s side putting in a good performance during the tournament, they were defeated 2-0 in the game in Vannes, France, the report states.
The goals came from Japan’s Riko Ueki and Jun Endo, leading England to face France in the third-place play-off, and Japan to face Spain in the final.
Japan beat Spain 3-1 in the final, while England finished third after beating France 4-2.

Wales build rugby ties in Kyushu

UK-Japan News September 2018

More than a year ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the Welsh team has begun staging an outreach programme in Kitakyushu, on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, Channel NewsAsia reported on 14 August.
With the Welsh team being based in the city for the competition, captain Ryan Jones was quoted as saying, “We wanted to be a little bit different, so our legacy is starting now”.
On a recent visit, Jones and the Wales Rugby Union ran coaching sessions for 600 children, and a coaching course for 50 coaches, the report says.

UK looks to Japan as partner for new fighter jet

UK-Japan News August 2018

The Tempest fighter jet was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow. • PHOTO: ANDREW LINNETT MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

The UK unveiled a new fighter jet at the Farnborough International Airshow, and sources said it would look to Japan as a partner for the new project, Japan Today reported on 17 July.

The Tempest fighter has raised questions about European defence cooperation, the report said, adding that Germany and France got their joint fighter jet programme under way in 2017.

HS2 to rival shinkansen

UK-Japan News August 2018

Trains on the UK’s High Speed 2 railway, which is currently under construction, will operate to an average delay target of 30 seconds, North Wales Pioneer said in a report on 19 July.

HS2 Ltd., the line’s builder, said trains that operate on the line will rival Japan’s shinkansen trains, famed for their dependability and punctuality.

The HS2 line initially will run from London’s Euston Station to Birmingham Interchange, with future extensions to Leeds and Manchester already having been proposed.

Legal action launched by Hitachi against TfL

UK-Japan News August 2018

Hitachi Ltd. has launched a legal challenge against Transport for London, after a contract to build new Tube trains was awarded to German rival Siemens AG, Rail Technology Magazine reported on 23 July.

Hitachi, which joined Canada’s Bombardier Inc. to bid for the contract to build 94 new trains for the Piccadilly Line, said TfL did not follow the proper procurement process, the report said.

The contract, part of the wider Deep Tube Upgrade Programme, was worth £1.5bn.

Stronger ties with Wales sought

UK-Japan News August 2018

Toyota city officials visited Wales to boost ties for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. • PHOTO: STRACHAN SPORTS TRAVEL

A delegation from the Japanese city of Toyota in Aichi Prefecture visited the town of Cowbridge in South Wales, to help shore up ties between Wales and Toyota, The Glamorgan GEM reported on 18 July.

The Mayor of Toyota, Toshihiko Ota, met with directors and managers from Strachan Sports Travel, which is based in Cowbridge and will be helping Welsh rugby with their travel arrangements for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Wales’s first game will be against Georgia in Toyota, and the city’s officials were hoping to encourage dialogue with Wales and strengthen ties in commerce, culture, tourism and sport, the report said.

BBC starts service in Japan to stream news

UK-Japan News August 2018

A new BBC news streaming service has been launched in Japan, bringing video news to online audiences, Japan Today reported on 19 July.

The service, which is being run through the Yahoo! JAPAN website, is available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and offers a selection of news and documentaries from the BBC’s World News channel, with either Japanese simultaneous interpretation or Japanese subtitles.

Programmes on offer include News Day, Asia Business Report and HARDtalk.

Kanagawa theme park to fete Paddington Bear

UK-Japan News August 2018

A theme park based on Paddington Bear opened in Japan on 21 July, Kyodo News reported the same day.

The amusement park is the world’s first to be based on the popular British character. Located in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, the park has five attractions for children and families.

Among the activities of interest is a ride on a miniature fire engine. Children can knock over targets made to look like fire.

The facility is part of the Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest complex near Lake Sagami.

Hokkaido bears for Yorkshire

UK-Japan News August 2018

One of four Ussuri brown bears that will be given a home at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. PHOTO: YWP

Four bears are to be sent from Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, The Mirror reported on 21 July.

The Ussuri brown bears have been living in tiny cages at the Ainu Culture Museum, but experience and resources to look after the bears are now lacking, the report said.

Named Riku, Kai, Hanako and Amu, the bears will be sent to a rehabilitation centre at the park in Doncaster, where a volunteers’ day was held to get everything ready for their arrival.

Princess heads to Eton

UK-Japan News August 2018

Princess Aiko departed for the UK, where she will take part in a summer school programme at Eton College, The Japan News reported on 23 July.

The 16-year-old princess, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, will also visit other places, including Portsmouth and Oxford, the report says.

The short programme at Eton is part of her high school’s study schedule, and will see her return to Japan in August.

UK beats Japan in 4x100m relay event

UK-Japan News August 2018

Japan came second, losing out to Great Britain, in the men’s 4x100m relay in the final day of the International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League event in London, The Japan Times reported on 23 July.

The Japanese team recorded a time of 38.09 seconds, behind the UK’s 37.61, which was the world’s fastest time this season, according to the report.

Three of the Japanese runners were members of the relay team that won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Maker of new engine hopes to attract Japanese car firms

Japan news July 2018

Representatives of a British manufacturer of a new type of engine for cars have been holding meetings with automakers in Japan, according to a 15 June report in Forbes.

Roger Stone and Mark Gostick of Camcon met with staff from Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Company, Ltd. and Mazda Motor Corporation to show off their Intelligent Valve Actuation (IVA) system.

The IVA engine combines the fuel economy of a diesel engine with the emissions and power of a gasoline unit, the report said.

The firm, a small start-up based in Leamington Spa, has spent seven years developing the technology, and is now testing it out with a Jaguar prototype in the UK.

Hitachi seeks partners for new N facility in Wales

UK-Japan News July 2018

Hitachi, Ltd is looking for partners to help share the cost of building a new nuclear complex on the Welsh island of Anglesey, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on 16 June.

The cost of the Wylfa Newydd is expected to be around ¥3tn (£20.5bn). The British government has already pledged to arrange ¥2tn in loans.

Hitachi has been in talks with the Development Bank of Japan and a number of Japanese energy firms about funding the project.

The article suggests, however, that gaining a commitment from Japanese power providers will not be easy.

Glasgow firm bought by Arm

UK-Japan News July 2018

The firm manufactures processor chips and semiconductors.

Scottish Internet of things (IoT) firm Stream Technologies has been bought out by Japanese software and semiconductor manufacturer Arm, The Herald reported on 13 June.

The Glasgow-based firm was set up in 2000 by Nigel Chadwick and deals with platforms allowing data transfers between different machines, such as smart meters, cars and vending machines.

Arm, which was bought by SoftBank Group Corp. in 2016, said the deal would help expand its IoT connectivity and device management capabilities, the report said.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

NHS to use robots

UK-Japan News July 2018

SoftBank Group’s robot Pepper has been used in dementia care trials.

The NHS is to follow Japanese health services and begin using robots to assist patients who have dementia, The Telegraph reported on 1 July.

Then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK should follow Japan’s example in embracing technology to produce “world beating” outcomes, and helping people stay healthy for longer, the report said.

As well as robots, virtual health coaches will be used to encourage families to lead healthier lifestyles.

Sawfly threat to UK elms

UK-Japan News July 2018

The zigzag elm sawfly is threatening British elm trees after having made its way across Europe, The Daily Mail reported on 22 June.

The pest, which originated in Japan, feeds on elm leaves, and is known for the signature zigzag trail of destruction that is left on the leaves, the report says.

It added that, while the sawfly rarely kills trees, it can defoliate them. This, in turn, causes problems for other creatures living among the trees and prevents photosynthesis from taking place.

Evidence of the pest has been found in Surrey.

Welsh and Hyogo castles to be twinned

UK-Japan News July 2018

North Wales’ Conwy Castle is to be twinned with Himeji Castle in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, the BBC reported on 17 June.

The report says the mayor of Himeji was preparing to travel to Conwy to sign an agreement on the plan.

Jim Jones, managing director of North Wales Tourism was quoted as saying Himeji Castle was “absolutely stunning” and that both castles shared a bond, given their construction started at a similar time.

He said the twinning move was the first for Wales, and possibly the first for the UK.

Himeji Castle features in scenes from the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, the report says.