The report’s editor, John Nilsson-Wright, highlights five core themes addressed by the report’s Japanese and British authors.
1. Britain and Japan enjoy strong historical ties that underpin their increased cooperation in recent years.
Britain was an important model for Japan’s late 19th century modernization efforts and both countries were formal allies in the early 20th century, in part, in an effort to counter the rising challenge of Russia as a geopolitical actor in Asia.
While World War II led to a temporary rupture in bilateral ties, after 1945, both countries sought to rebuild their relationship. In this effort, they found common interest in their respective close alliance ties with the United States and a shared history of mutual ambivalence towards their continental neighbours.
Anglo-Japanese ties were significantly boosted during the premierships of Margaret Thatcher and Yasuhiro Nakasone in the 1980s, when Japan made major direct investment commitments to the UK, especially within the auto and consumer electronics sectors. Since then, extensive cultural and educational exchanges, and the establishment of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, has helped to bolster ties between the political, business and academic communities of the two countries.