British PM David Cameron
The British prime minister is in Tokyo for the start of his East and South East Asia tour which is aimed at fostering trade deals between Asian countries and the UK. David Cameron is expected to put pen
to paper on a new defence deal with Japan which it is hoped would see both countries develop weapons together for the first time in their history.
Mr Cameron is also expected to visit Burma this week as part of his tour, follwing the by-elections held there last week which were praised by western nations. The democracy activist Aung Sun Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won 43 of the seats contested.
Cameron told the BBC and other reporters travelling with him that it was part of his job to "load up an aeroplane full of business people" to "fly the flag for Britain".
He also told reporters on the flight that he was "completely upfront" about including several large defence contractors among his 40-strong business delegation, and hailed the UK's "very strong defence sector".
"We have some of the toughest rules on defence exports anywhere in the world," he said.
"But as these countries, particularly Japan, that have tended in the past to buy only American equipment are opening up, there are opportunities for people like Agustawestland, who make helicopters, who are on this plane.
"I think that's perfectly responsible and respectable."
"It is an important trip. Obviously these are key diplomatic relations with Japan and South East Asia that we want to build," he said.
"We think in some ways we have underplayed these relations in the past. We want to boost them and strengthen them."
"All these countries represent huge opportunities.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Science Minister David Willetts, Chief Scientist Sir John Beddington and representatives from BAE Systems, the Nuclear Industry Association and Rolls Royce are among the delegates taking part in the trade visit.
The government pointed out that when Cameron embarked on foreign business trips in the past, exports rose by 20% in the places that he visited.
Mr Cameron, whose trip to Japan was postponed last year due to the eurozone crisis, is due to meet and discuss a multiple of issue with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
Amongst them are finding ways to deal with the global economy, dangers posed by North Korea and British expertise on nuclear decommissioning following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami which led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year.
Mr Cameron is also set to visit Nissan's head office in Yokohama, along with the company's chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga. He is expected to applaud Nissan for their decision to build their new hatchback model in the UK - in the process creating 1,000 jobs in Sunderland, as is "proof of the strength and vitality of the British manufacturing industry".
He is also expected state that the government wants to attract more investment and is in the process of encouraging overseas companies with a variety of incentives to invest in the UK.
The government hopes it will see deals reached on more than £200m worth of Japanese investment in the UK.
Other announcements expected during the trip include Panasonic choosing to set up a fuel research centre in Cardiff and Mitsubishi using Edinburgh as a base for a project on wind turbine generators.