Japanese warning over Brexit during G20 talks
TOKYO has issued its boldest warning yet over the potential fallout from Brexit, saying Japanese firms may shift key operations from Britain to Europe if they lose free access to the single market.
With a G20 summit under way in China, a Japanese government taskforce told Britain and the EU to minimise the “harmful effects” of Brexit on firms that treat the UK as a gateway to Europe.
Some of Japan’s best-known companies, including Toyota, Hitachi and investment bank Nomura, are re-assessing their UK investments after Britain voted in June to quit the 28-member EU, according to a report issued by Tokyo.
“Japanese businesses with their European headquarters in the UK may decide to transfer their headoffice function to Continental Europe if EU laws cease to be applicable in the UK after its withdrawal,” the report said.
Japan has warned that some of its firms were lured to Britain by its sales pitch as a launching pad for tapping the European market – adding that London has a duty to hammer out a post-Brexit deal that protects Japanese companies.
“We strongly request that the UK will consider this fact seriously and respond in a responsible manner to minimise any harmful effects on these businesses,” said the 15-page document.
More than 1000 Japanese companies do business in Britain, employing some 140,000 local people, and Japan’s direct investment in the country has topped 10 trillion yen (US$96 billion) to date.
The report also urged Britain and the EU to make the Brexit negotiation process transparent to avoid “unpleasant surprises”. –