Scottish Daily Mail
Rishi’s microchip mission to Japan
As fears over Beijing grow, PM looks to strengthen ties with Tokyo
RISHI Sunak will sign a microchip deal with Japan today to help protect supplies from potential disruption by China.
The Prime Minister was flying into Tokyo last night ahead of talks on a new economic and security agreement designed to counter growing aggression from Beijing.
Today he will meet business leaders and unveil new investment in Britain worth billions of pounds and thousands of jobs.
Mr Sunak, who is accompanied by his wife Akshata Murty, will then travel to Hiroshima for the G7 summit of advanced economy countries this weekend.
This evening he will hold talks with Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, where the two leaders are expected to agree a new ‘Hiroshima Accord’ strengthening relations between the UK and Japan.
The deal will include a new ‘semiconductor partnership’ to help protect supplies of microchips amid a global shortage. The move reflects mounting concern about Chinese aggression towards Taiwan, which is the global centre for the production of advanced semiconductors.
Ministers are expected to publish a dedicated semiconductor strategy tomorrow setting out how vital supply chains will be protected.
A government source said the deal with Japan would include ‘new commitments to pursue ambitious R&D [research and development] cooperation and skills exchange, strengthening our domestic sectors and bolstering supply chain resilience in an increasingly competitive market’.
The new accord with Japan will also boost defence cooperation, including sending more British troops to take part in joint military exercises and the deployment of a British aircraft carrier to the Far East in 2025.
The PM said he and his Japanese counterpart were ‘closely aligned on the importance of protecting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and defending our values, including free and fair trade’.
He said the ‘hugely significant’ new agreement with Tokyo would see the UK ‘step up cooperation between our armed forces, grow our economies together and develop our world-leading science and technology expertise’.
On his way to Tokyo last night, the PM told reporters the deal would leave Britain with a ‘strong and increasing footprint in the security of the Indo-Pacific region,’ where Beijing has been increasingly assertive in recent years.
The PM said the G7 summit would involve an ‘intense period of diplomatic activity’ focused on the economy, Ukraine and combatting the rise of China.