Daily Management Review

Japan’s Concerns Over Brexit The Focus Of Shinzo Abe’s UK Visit


Japan’s Concerns Over Brexit The Focus Of Shinzo Abe’s UK Visit
It is expected that Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe would apprise UK’s counterpart Theresa May about the concerns of his country about a no-deal Brexit in a meeting of the two leaders in London.
There are high concerns about a no-deal Brexit for Japan because more than a thousand companies from the far eastern giant are operational in the UK and many of the Japanese companies make use of the Britain as a a base to supply their products to the rest of Europe.
There can possibly be millions in additional costs form additional tariffs for their UK operations because of a no-deal Brexit, said Japanese manufacturers such as Nissan, Toyota and Honda. These companies and many others have also warned that a no-deal Brexit would also be a big disruption to the “just-in-time” supply chains which forms the back bone of these manufacturing companies. Such warnings have raised rumours that their operations in the UK might be reconsidered by them. 
Following a meeting with May during the G20 summit in Argentina last month, Abe had urged May to avoid no-deal and ensure “transparency, predictability (and) legal stability in the Brexit process”.
Many analysts see that if there is another public warning about the dangers of a no-deal; Brexit would essentially lend support May’s Withdrawal Agreement just days before a critical vote that the deal has to face in the House of Commons next week.
Analysts expect that Abe would deliver the commitment of Japan to a robust post-Brexit bilateral arrangement with the UK after the country managed to successfully complete an EU-Japan free trade agreement.
Japanese investments account for the second largest source of foreign direct investment outside of the EU. Japan is also the largest export market for UK apart from EU, US and China.
More than £40 billion a year is invested by Japanese companies in the UK and together they employ over 150,000 employees.
In 2018, the value of the total trade between the UK and Japan was £28 billion which was 5 per cent more than the previous year.
“World attention is focused on the UK’s exit from the EU. Precisely because of this problem, it is very meaningful for me to visit the UK and exchange opinions. I want to properly convey Japan’s thinking,” said Abe at the beginning of his trip to Europe. 
“The UK and Japan are natural partners. We face many of the same challenges. But also the same immense opportunities. By agreeing to forge a new, dynamic partnership, we not only back some of the most cutting-edge sectors in our economy, but will also improve people’s lives and shape the 21st century for the better,” said May about the visit of Abe to the UK.
Japan could be given more clarity on Brexit by May, said Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner.
 “Theresa May’s proposed deal would harm the foundations of our existing relationship with Japan. Japanese investors will understandably be seeking clarity on the terms of our future relationship with the EU, but it is a clarity that Theresa May cannot give – because the future political framework that Parliament is to vote on next week is no more than a flimsy statement of intent,” he said.