As the threats to our defense and security increase, so our nations will need to improve how we protect our territory, our citizens and our values.

The security environment in the Indo-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic regions has deteriorated rapidly in the past decade and, sadly, all indications suggest this trend will continue. Authoritarian regimes are challenging regional stability and the rules-based international order.

British Ambassador to Japan Julia Longbottom. (Kyodo)

Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine demonstrates this and shows how territorial integrity and the peaceful existence of neighbors can be challenged.

Political and military leaders in open, democratic states have a duty to act, both now and in planning for the future, to ensure we can protect our citizens.

Democratic nations with shared values have one great advantage over regimes who ignore the rule of law and put global peace and stability at risk. That strength is our ability to work with friends and allies across the world who share those values.

We cooperate in trade and in addressing global challenges, such as climate change, to assure our collective prosperity. And we cooperate to deter and defend ourselves against threats to peace and security, even when we are on opposite sides of the world.

Perhaps it should therefore come as no surprise that the United Kingdom, Japan and Italy have agreed to cooperate in combat air: an area of the defense industry and military capability that will remain at the heart of our national defense for decades to come.

The Global Combat Air Programme will be one of the many programs exhibiting at Defence & Security Equipment International Japan this week and will demonstrate how our three nations have come together in a truly ground-breaking partnership.

Collectively, we have some of the finest industrial and technological expertise in the world. And we each share deep and vital defense relationships with the United States.

As Britain's Ambassador to Japan, I am particularly excited about the opportunity this global partnership offers.

It is a tangible demonstration of the U.K.'s commitment to Indo-Pacific security and prosperity. It will provide high-tech jobs in all three countries and ensure we stay at the cutting edge of innovation. It will provide a platform for deeper people-to-people ties across government, industry and defense.

By investing in our respective and shared industrial bases, we will together develop technologies that can overcome rapidly evolving threats, while at the same time giving us the sovereign freedoms, affordability and prosperity benefits our citizens deserve.

The U.K. and Japan are each other's closest security partners in Europe and Asia respectively. GCAP is the latest example of our deepening security and defense relationship, building on the progress of the last five years. The 2021 deployment of our Carrier Strike Group led by the Queen Elizabeth to Japan, the ongoing presence of our offshore patrol vessels in the region and last year's joint land exercises in Japan were a visible demonstration of that partnership.

They have built a foundation for the future. We continue to look for opportunities to enhance security and defense collaboration across all domains including in cyber, AI and space.

GCAP will open many further opportunities for U.K.-Japan cooperation and shows that we are both fully committed to an ever deeper relationship, and to global peace and security.

(Julia Longbottom has been serving as Britain's ambassador to Japan since March 2021.)