Theresa May has told Japan that the UK will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with them over the threat from North Korea.

The prime minister is in Tokyo where she will announce increase in mutual cooperation over defence and cyber-security.

“The prime minister told Prime Minister Abe that the UK stood shoulder to shoulder with Japan in facing North Korean aggression,” the spokeswoman said.

“The prime minister also discussed the importance of the show of unity at the UN security council last night in speaking with one voice against North Korean aggression.

She added: “Prime Minister Abe and the prime minister agreed that it was important to send a powerful message to North Korea that it won’t be tolerated.”

May said:

“As two outward-facing countries with many shared priorities and shared challenges, Japan remains a natural partner for us on defence and security issues.

I am determined that our defence and security co-operation will continue to go from strength to strength, enhancing our collective response to threats to the international order and to global peace and security, through increased co-operation on defence, cyber security, and counter-terrorism.

And that must include confronting the threat that North Korea poses and ensuring the regime stops its aggressive acts.”

This comes after Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean in what is being called a major escalation.

The missile was launched at around 2057 GMT Monday from Sunan, near Pyongyang, travelling over Japan.It flew around 2,700 kilometres (1,700 miles) at a maximum altitude of around 550 kilometres.

No effort was made by Japan to intercept the missile but a warning was issued warning telling citizens in Hokkaido to seek shelter.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain was working with the United States and allies in the region to find a diplomatic solution to the stand-off between Pyongyang and Washington and that “the North Korean regime is the cause of this problem and they must fix it.”

First Secretary of State Damian Green has also added it is “obviously” in Britain’s interests that the stand-off between Washington and Pyongyang does not lead to conflict and urged Mr Trump to be “sensible” and go through the UN before acting on his “fire and fury” threat.


  1. Japan is our nearest peer nation. It’s a food / energy import dependent island with a top five economy.

    It also remembers its WW2 blockade vulnerability and is investing heavily in its navy.

    17 subs, 22 planned (no bombers)
    4 helicopter (carrier) destroyers (no aircraft carriers allowed under treaty)
    3 Landing Ship Tanks
    28 Destroyers with a new class on the way
    10 Frigates
    6 Corvettes

    This is not a comment on the quality of the people or systems but it is a peer statement on the numbers they think it takes to protect and secure their trade and security. I expect this to rise further.

    I know they’re not in NATO but they do base US forces in country so an attack on Japan would be an attack on US.

  2. Japan correctly invests in its own defence our armed forces are in a shit state. Not sure what forces PM May thinks we can offer to help Japan, they are already a much more capable military power than we are.

    • Mr Bell – except that their constitution forbids any aggressive action. It is a ‘pacifist’ Constitution and Japan’s military are not called ‘Defence Force’ for nothing. Japan could not sign up to an organisation like NATO as we do or support it even. It is illegal to do so under Japanese Law.
      So therefore Japanese forces have a vastly different role to play than do UK forces. That doesn’t mean I think we should not up our defence budget, spend it far more wisely and do other things better it just means you are comparing apples and pears.

    • ANOTHER POINT IN TALKING DEFENCE SPENDING IS THE FACT THAT MANY NATIONS STILL 3 SEPERATE ARMED FORCES HAVING JUST ONE COMBINED DEFENCE FORCE MAKES FOR CLEARER PLANNING STRATEGIES AND THE END TO INTER SERVICE SQUABBLES THE U.S .MC IS AN IDEAL BLUEPRINT.maybe in the not so distant future we may see the and s.b.s merge into one elite special service regiment. the fleet air arm merge with the r.a.f or even the marines and parachute regiments have merged into others, increasing the flexabiliy and effectiveness of the resulitng in savings on the need for seperate basing and operational training and logistical needs.

      • This was trialled by the Canadians and failed. Each force has a different M.O. They can work together or independently. The RAF were in charge of the Harriers and look at the disaster that turned out to be.

  3. “First Secretary of State Damian Green has also added it is “obviously” in Britain’s interests that the stand-off between Washington and Pyongyang does not lead to conflict and urged Mr Trump to be “sensible” and go through the UN before acting on his “fire and fury” threat.”

    If North Korea fires a ICBM at Guam or any other US territory, let alone the US mainland. We won’t be going to the UN to be “sensible”. We’ll act, on our own. We wont’ be consulting Damian Green either.


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