LONDON — Britain and Japan have pledged to increase cooperation in military training, weapons development, cybersecurity and other areas following a meeting in London of the nations' foreign and defense ministers on Wednesday.

The cooperation effort includes the launch of joint defense equipment and technology projects, according to said a joint statement from the two sides.

A feasibility study on a new air-to-air missile kicked off in November and is due to run for several months. A research project involving chemical and biological technology is also on the agenda.

Details on the missile work are scarce, but the Japanese media reported in mid-2014 that the two nations were considering a possible program involving Japanese guidance technology fitted to the MBDA-designed Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile, now due to come into service with several air forces across Europe.

Britain and Japan are both buying the Lockheed Martin F-35, which the Meteor missile could be fitted to. The Royal Air Force is also equipping its Typhoon combat aircraft with the ram-jet powered weapon.

In return, the Japanese are trying to interest the British in the possible purchase of Kawasaki Heavy Industries jet powered P-1 maritime patrol aircraft to fill a gap in maritime capabilities here since Britain axed its Nimrod MR4 program in 2010.

Japan lifted a ban on exporting defense equipment in April 2014.

No decision on whether Britain will restore its maritime patrol aircraft MPA capability is expected until the strategic defense and security review is completed at the end of this year or in 2016.

The meeting of British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and the Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defence Minister Gen Nakatani was the first formal meeting to discuss foreign and defense security issues together.

The two countries agreed to develop a program of joint training and exercises covering noncombat missions such as like evacuation, provision of airlift and peacekeeping.

The ministers also said they would push ahead with with the conclusion of an acquisition and cross-servicing pact, which would allow the two militaries to exchange items such as like food and fuel on peacekeeping and disaster relief missions.

The two sides also agreed to continue a dialogue on cybersecurity and said the third in a series of information exchange and analysis meetings will be held in was scheduled for the near future.

Fallon said the meeting was not "just hugely symbolic, it also clearly affirms our resolve to deepen and broaden our defence relationship."

Email: achuter@defensenews.com.

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