Japan, U.K. leaders to agree on defense intelligence-sharing pact

Japan and Britain plan to agree at a meeting of their leaders in Northern Ireland next week to forge a defense intelligence-sharing accord, while discussing the establishment of high-level bilateral talks, a Japanese government source said Tuesday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his British counterpart David Cameron are also expected to agree to sign a pact to protect each other's sensitive technology given plans to jointly develop chemical protective suits.

The two sides agreed in April last year to jointly develop arms and defense equipment, following Tokyo's decision in December 2011 to relax its ban on arms exports.

Abe and Cameron are set to hold their first face-to-face meeting as prime ministers on the sidelines of the summit of leaders from the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries in Northern Ireland next Monday and Tuesday.

In considering the establishment of high-level dialogue between the two countries, Tokyo and London aim to launch at some point a "two-plus-two" framework of talks between their defense and foreign ministers.

Japan has already set up a similar framework with the United States, Australia, Russia and France.

Abe and Cameron will also discuss the North Korea and Iran nuclear issues and Syria, where civil war continues, while confirming cooperation in concluding a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union, according to the source.