PEOPLE IN LOSSIEMOUTH are well used to an international cast of visitors for regular military exercises taking place at the local air base.
From this year, however, a nation that has never taken part in joint exercises before could well be visiting the Moray base as the UK defence secretary, Michael Fallon, has confirmed that Japan will have closer military ties with the UK.
Mr Fallon revealed on Friday that the new cooperation between the nations will likely include a joint exercise involving RAF Typhoons visiting Japan this year, which follows a visit already undertaken by the RAF A400M to Miho Airbase in Tottori Prefecture last October.
The defence secretary said: “Japan is our closest security partner in Asia and I want to significantly deepen defence cooperation between our two nations. We will do that through joint exercises, reciprocal access to our military bases, military personnel exchanges and cooperation on equipment, including a new air-to-air missile.”
Mr Fallon pointed to increased participation by Japan in NATO joint exercises such as the biannual Joint Warrior which regularly sees a variety of international personnel and aircraft arrive at RAF Lossiemouth.
The statement came as Mr Fallon visited Japan, during which Japanese Minister of Defence H.E. Mr. Gen Nakatani said: “Last year, the UK published the SDSR. In this, the UK reaffirmed its commitment to its presence as a global power.
“The SDSR highlighted Japan as the closest security partner in Asia, and I highly regard this statement. In the same year, we have reformed our legislation concerning peace and security.
“Through these processes, our two nations have confirmed the further commitment of the stability of the world.”