Cleverly’s Japanese G7 journey immortalised in manga style cartoon

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James Cleverly has landed in Japan in style ahead of a major summit of the foreign ministers from the world’s most powerful democracies. The Foreign Secretary’s digital team have turned him into “manga man” producing a Japanese style cartoon story to explain the importance of his trip to the spa resort of Karuizawa.

The fun take on the summit devised by the Foreign Office’s digital team is also meant to tell the serious story of the global issues the foreign ministers will be addressing.

On the agenda will be the war in Ukraine, tackling climate change and dealing with the increasingly important issues in the Indo Pacific region, particularly the threat posed by China.

The ministers will hold intense talks on the potential threat to Taiwan from China and the concerns over the Taiwan Straits which are vital for trade around the world.

More than 50 percent of all cargo passes through the straits including three quarters of all the semi-conductors which enable domestic items, computers and many more things to operate.

The first picture which will go out on the FCDO’s social media introduces the summit and is followed by one of Mr Cleverly landing at the main international airport in Tokyo – Haneda airport.

The third panel shows Mr Cleverly and his team’s journey to the spa resort of Karuizawa – famed for its cherry blossom trees and thermal waters as well as skiing – where the summit will take place.

The bullet train can run at an astonishing 374 miles an hour but generally hits speeds of up to 320 miles per hour.

Its success was one of the reasons that the government has pushed for High Speed 2 in Britain running from London to Birmingham and Manchester.

Mr Cleverly and his team will not get a chance to sample many of the delights offered at the Karuizawa resort town with a series of G7 meetings planned on various issues and bi-lateral country-to-country meetings also in the diary.

The fourth panel shows the different countries attending the conference and the meetings which will take place.

The Foreign Secretary has been a senior minister in the FCDO for three years with previous briefs covering Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas including the USA.

It means that Mr Cleverly – known in Westminster for his affability – has developed strong relationships over time with many of his counterparts.

This includes Catherine Colonna who he has struck up a “surprising” rapport with.

This helped pave the way for new deals on the migrant crisis and small boats as well as the recent Anglo-French summit.

The final panel is the one where Mr Cleverly sets out the purpose of the summit and the basis of the agreements which will be released.

While the summit is a meeting of both friends and rivals the G7 countries have a shared objective of ensuring the twin threats of China and Russia continue to understand that western democracies will not back down over Taiwan or Ukraine.

The first part of the meetings will be to galvanise support for Ukraine’s military efforts against Putin’s invasion.

But the second part will be to ensure China understands that western democracies will stand up for Taiwan.

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The Japan trip is only the beginning of Mr Cleverly’s global journey this week as he goes on to Commonwealth countries in the Indo-Pacific region including to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, before joining the New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta for a joint programme in Samoa.

Mr Cleverly’s aim, according to sources close to him, is to show how much Britain values the Commonwealth and is still committed to the southern hemisphere in terms of trade and security.

The symbolism for countries not often visited by British ministers let alone the Foreign Secretary is important.

Mr Cleverly will be the first British Foreign Secretary to go to Papua New Guinea since the country was made independent in 1975.

He is understood to have been surprised by Labour shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy’s attack on the UK focussing on the Indo-Pacific region instead of Europe because “everybody in the world should be focussed on the Indo-Pacific now”.

The trip also comes hot off the deal signed for Britain to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pancific Partnership (CPTPP) on trade only made possible by Brexit.

The deal has opened up massive markets to the UK with 11 other members including Japan.

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