In my speech I also looked back on other developments during the past year, including moves to strengthen our defence co-operation following the signing in June of a Memorandum to this effect. Moreover, in October our foreign ministers launched a strategic dialogue during which I was struck by the extent to which our two countries shared common or similar views on most of the weighty global and regional issues, including security in the Asia-Pacific region and peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, I was happy to remind the audience that our economic relations had continued to prosper throughout the year. It was particularly noteworthy, I emphasised, that the UK was keen to support Japan in the long-term process of cleaning up and decommissioning in the aftermath of the nuclear accident in Fukushima, while a Japanese company, Hitachi, was to play a leading role in major British infrastructure projects involving nuclear power stations and high-speed rail.
On the success of London 2012, which is still fresh in our memories, I spoke of my impression that London certainly showed how a huge capital city could overcome a number of logistical challenges to make a success of such a mammoth undertaking. I appreciated London’s role in setting an excellent precedent for Tokyo, another mega-sized capital city, in its bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
In my thoughts on the future, I noted that next year promises to be another busy one for Japan-UK relations and for my Embassy. For a start, the UK will assume the presidency of the G8, while Japan will host the TICAD V summit on African development. For these and other reasons, the leaders of our two countries will be sure to exchange visits and to find more opportunities to firm up our bilateral ties.