Ja­pan ‘very con­cerned’ over prospect of ‘no-deal’ Brexit, says for­eign min­is­ter

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Ja­pan’s for­eign min­is­ter said Thurs­day he has pleaded with Bri­tain to avoid a no-deal Brexit, as the can­di­dates vy­ing to be the next UK prime min­is­ter warn they could leave the EU without an agree­ment.

Taro Kono said he had made the ap­peals in past and present meet­ings with his Bri­tish coun­ter­part Jeremy Hunt and for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary Boris John­son, who are cur­rently bat­tling to re­place out­go­ing pre­mier Theresa May.

“We’re very con­cerned with a no-deal Brexit,” he told BBC News. “We’ve been ask­ing the UK gov­ern­ment to let the Ja­panese com­pa­nies know what they can ex­pect,” he said.

“When­ever we’ve had meet­ings, that was one of the ma­jor is­sues: ‘please, no no-deal Brexit.’”

Not­ing that more than 1,000 Ja­panese com­pa­nies cur­rently op­er­ate in Bri­tain, Kono warned a dis­or­derly de­par­ture from the EU risked dis­rupt­ing in­vest­ment.

“Many com­pa­nies are wor­ried about the im­pli­ca­tions be­cause they don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen,” he said.

“Some com­pa­nies are al­ready ... mov­ing their op­er­a­tions to other places in Europe.

“There’s go­ing to be less in­vest­ment – any­thing could hap­pen.”

Kono said Ja­pan’s lead­ing car-mak­ers were par­tic­u­larly ex­posed to the po­ten­tial fall­out from a hard Brexit.

“If they have to go through ac­tual cus­tom in­spec­tion phys­i­cally those op­er­a­tions may not be able to con­tinue.”

How­ever, Takahito Tokita, pres­i­dent of Fu­jitsu, said the Ja­panese tech gi­ant had no im­me­di­ate plans to scale back its UK en­ter­prises.

“Fu­jitsu will con­tinue to in­vest into the UK mar­ket... be­cause it is a very im­por­tant mar­ket for us,” he told the BBC. He noted the com­pany had al­ready made “con­tin­gency plans” around Brexit.

Bri­tain was due to leave the EU on March 29, but has twice de­layed its de­par­ture af­ter Theresa May failed to per­suade MPS to back the di­vorce deal she struck with the bloc.

She re­signed ear­lier this month, and will be re­placed by ei­ther John­son – the frontrun­ner – or Hunt when around 160,000 Con­ser­va­tive Party mem­bers choose their next leader in July.

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