Jeremy Hunt, the UK Foreign Secretary, has told the prime minister of Japan that the United Kingdom is determined to avoid exiting the European Union without a deal.
During one of his visits to Tokyo, Hunt told Shinzo Abe, the Japanese PM: “We recognise that Japan has many investments employing hundreds of thousands of people in the UK.”
He added: “We want strong cooperation to continue.”
According to NHK, a Japanese broadcaster, PM Abe had said that he hoped that the United Kingdom would not leave the European Union without an agreement.
He also said that he hoped that the impact of Brexit on Japanese companies and the global economy would only be minimal.
Hunt’s visit to Japan comes just over a month after Japan’s ambassador to the United Kingdom warned that Japanese firms could continue to move out of the United Kingdom if there was not a good post-Brexit deal.
In an interview with Sky News after both Honda and Nissan announced production cuts at their UK-based plants, Koji Tsuruoka said that Japanese firms had been cutting back on their investment in the United Kingdom amid the Brexit uncertainty.
However, he also said that a post-Brexit trade deal between Japan and the United Kingdom would not take long to arrange.
Honda and Nissan denied that their cutbacks were because of Brexit, with some commentators stating that Japan now benefits from lower tariffs on exports to the European Union through the EU-Japan trade deal.
However, Tsuruoka said that many of Japan’s 1,000 or so UK-based firms were considering how they would adjust to life in the United Kingdom after Brexit.
Japan is considered as one of the most important foreign investors of the United Kingdom, with car production playing a major role in this.
Hunt is also set to visit Toyota during his visit to Japan.