As if UK Prime Minister Theresa May didn’t have enough Brexit concerns already, enter the Japanese.
In a face to face meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to urge May to do everything she can to avoid a disorderly Brexit. Some of Japan’s leading companies have warned that would be a disaster.
More than £46 billion (AU$82 billion) pounds has been invested by Japanese firms into Britain. They were promised by successive British governments since Margaret Thatcher that Britain would be a business-friendly base in which they could trade across Europe.
Brexit’s future remains uncertain. Options spread from another referendum or a messy exit from the EU. This is because it is expected that British lawmakers won’t vote in favour of the deal May struck with the EU in November.
While investors fear that if the deal is lost then the world’s fifth-largest economy might turn to chaos and that would brutally disrupt supply chains, therefore Abe has welcomed the deal.
What does Brexit mean for the rest of the world?
The two PMs will deliberate the economic opportunities that are available for both the UK and Japan as the former divorces the EU, claims Downing Street ahead of the meeting.
‘As the UK prepares to leave the EU, we raise our horizons towards the rest of the world. Our relationship with Japan is stronger than ever, and this visit will enhance co-operation in a wide range of areas.’
However, for the Japanese prime minister the trading relationship between Brexit and the EU will high up on the agenda, RAW reports. Before departing for Europe, Abe told reporters that he would convey to May Japan’s position regarding Brexit.
In December, while at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Abe asked May for her support in avoiding a ‘no deal’ vote, wanting to guarantee transparency, predictability and legal stability in the process, according to RAW.
Nissan, Toyota and Honda are all Japanese carmakers, build around 50% of close to the 1.7 million cars in Britain. They have warned about the loss of free and unfettered trade with the EU after the divorce.
Koji Tsuruoka, Japan’s ambassador to Britain, delivered a frank warning about Brexit last February when he said that Japanese companies would have to leave the UK is trade barriers caused them to become unprofitable.
‘If there is no profitability of continuing operations in the UK — not Japanese only — then no private company can continue operations,’ he said.
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