Statement by the British Ambassador to Japan on the State Visit

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The Band of the Household Cavalry on The Mall during the Japanese State Visit to the United Kingdom, on Tuesday 25th June, 2024. Photographer: Sgt Chris Morgan. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2024 MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

The British Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom, issued a statement on the State Visit to the UK by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

I am delighted that the State Visit of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan has concluded so successfully. This visit to the UK was made possible after several years of preparation starting in 2019, and I feel extremely honoured to have been involved in such a historic event.

The visit to the UK came at a truly auspicious time for UK-Japan relations. As His Majesty the Emperor said in his speech at the State Banquet, the UK and Japan are ‘friends like no other’ and our relationship has never been stronger. Our partnership spans trade, security, science and technology, sustainable energy and more, all encapsulated in the Hiroshima Accord agreed last year.

We have also witnessed the warm bonds of friendship between our people. This includes the closeness of our royal families, as demonstrated by the shared interest of His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Emperor in biodiversity and environmental protection.

The Guildhall Banquet hosted by the City of London, a pioneering ecosystem for international finance and business services, including innovative research and academic institutions, was attended by guests representing the business communities of both countries. The dinner symbolised the deepening of our cooperation through collaboration between businesses and local governments in both countries.

The official programme also showcased the ground-breaking collaboration between Japanese and British scientists and researchers in the fields of genetics, stem cells and cell regeneration. It was very moving to see the Emperor and Empress smiling as they interacted with the children who will be the next generation of the Japan-UK partnership, and to see how the arts and culture of both countries continue to influence each other across generations and national boundaries.

This visit to the UK has allowed us to send a message to the world that the UK-Japan relationship is moving forward into the future. It has also highlighted the fact that both countries will continue to work together to build a sustainable society and make the world a more peaceful and secure place, while seeking new treatments such as tracking mutated strains of viruses and developing vaccines in preparation for future pandemic crises. From the UK’s contribution to World Expo 2025, which will focus on global collaboration to save lives, to the visit of the Carrier Strike Group next year and beyond, we will continue to write new pages in history together. I also hope that the bonds between people will continue to grow stronger through education and other forms of exchange.

We are now entering a new era in UK-Japan relations. We will build an even stronger relationship of trust and a forward-looking partnership with the people of Japan to write the next 400 years of our history together.

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