British troops could be HANGED in Japan under new defence pact

British troops could be HANGED in Japan if they are found guilty of serious crimes under defence pact agreed by Rishi Sunak

  • The Reciprocal Access Agreement will be signed tomorrow at Tower of London
  • The deal with Japanese PM Fumio Kishida will cement defence ties with Japan
  • Capital punishment is legal in Japan and off-duty British troops could be subject 

British troops in Japan could be hanged if they are found guilty of serious crimes under a new defence agreement due to be signed by Rishi Sunak. 

The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) will be signed by Sunak and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tomorrow at the Tower of London. 

It will strengthen defence ties between Britain and Japan in the face of increasing threats from China and North Korea – after troops have been taking part in training exercises together. 

But although visiting troops on duty will still face the legal system of their own country, off-duty soldiers will be subject to the Japanese justice system, meaning they could face capital punishment. 

British troops in Japan could be hanged if they are found guilty of serious crimes under a new defence agreement due to be signed by Rishi Sunak. Here Japanese, American, British and Australian troops took part in an annual exercise


The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) will be signed by Sunak (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) tomorrow at the Tower of London

The death penalty is legal in Japan – the only country to carry it out other than America – for cases of ‘aggravated murder’, which include mass killings or the murder of children.  

The Ministry of Defence believes diplomatic pressure could be applied to avoid hangings and that the benefits of the deal are worth the risk, according to The Times. 

British negotiators were seeking an agreement to give their troops immunity – but have ended up agreeing to a treaty similar to Australia’s with Japan. 

The pact also discusses immigration, transport of weapons and the legal rights of visiting military personnel when they visit Japan. 

Last month Japan announced it would double its defence spending to better protect itself against threats from North Korea and China. 

It comes after a US warship riled China on Thursday by sailing through the sensitive Taiwan Strait. 

It will strengthen defence ties between Britain and Japan in the face of increasing threats from China and North Korea – after troops have been taking part in training exercises together

The Chinese military held large-scale joint combat strike drills starting Sunday, sending war planes and navy vessels toward Taiwan on Sunday and the early hours of Monday. 

British forces have conducted joint exercises with US and Japanese troops in recent days. 

In November British and Japanese troops practiced retaking an island. Last month the soldiers took part in a bilateral war game exercise in Gunma prefecture in central Japan. 

The last instance of capital punishment in Japan took place in July but there are 107 people currently on death row. 

Kishida’s visit to London is part of a wider trip including France, Italy, Canada and the US – ahead of hosting the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May.  

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