In his remarks, Ambassador Tsuruoka outlined Lord Howard’s dedication to the UK-Japan 21st Century Group as Co-Chair. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Group issued a strong message in May 2011 that Japan was “safe to visit” and “very much open for business” which was greatly appreciated by the Japanese at that difficult time.
Lord Howard has also contributed to strengthening security cooperation between Japan and the UK with recommendations from the 21st Century Group, resulting in the introduction of the Japan-UK Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting (“2+2”) in 2015. This supports the longstanding security ties between the two countries, for example by facilitating the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) which was signed this January between Japan and the UK. Ambassador Tsuruoka paid tribute to Lord Howard’s contribution to mutual understanding and interactive dialogue between the two countries.
For his part, Lord Howard expressed his great appreciation at the recognition accorded the work of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group. He believed that constructive discussions by the Group, which consisted of politicians, diplomats, academics, commentators and business people, made a significant contribution to the warm relationship between the two countries. In voicing his gratitude to everyone who had made a point of attending the event, he declared how pleased he was that it was taking place at a time when bilateral ties were so cordial and robust.
The Embassy of Japan