British Prime Minister Theresa May and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe share a laugh at a news conference in London on Thursday. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
politics

Abe says world does not want no-deal Brexit

50 Comments
By Paul Sandle

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that the world did not want to see a disorderly Brexit and that he fully supported British Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal from the European Union now facing defeat in parliament.

Some of Japan's leading companies in Britain have warned that a no-deal Brexit could be a disaster. After meeting May in London, Abe said it was scenario no one wanted to see.

"It is the strong will of Japan to further develop this strong partnership with the UK, to invest more into the country and to enjoy further economic growth with the UK," Abe said at a news conference alongside May. "That is why we truly hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided and, in fact, that is the wish of the whole world."

Japanese firms have spent more than 46 billion pounds ($59 billion) in Britain, encouraged by successive British governments since Margaret Thatcher promising them a business-friendly base from which to trade across Europe.

The future of Brexit remains deeply uncertain - with options ranging from a disorderly exit from the EU to another membership referendum - because British lawmakers are expected on Jan. 15 to vote down the deal May struck with the EU in November.

Abe has been one of the strongest international supporters of May's Brexit deal since it was struck in November. When the two met at a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires in December, he asked for May's support to avoid a "no deal" and to ensure transparency, predictability and legal stability in the process.

"Japan is in total support of the draft withdrawal agreement worked out between the EU and Prime Minister May which provides for transition to ensure legal stability for businesses that have invested into this country," he said. However, investors fear that if her deal is defeated as is expected then the world's fifth-largest economy could be plunged into a chaotic no-deal exit from the world's biggest trading bloc that would severely disrupt supply chains.

Britain's business minister Greg Clark also said a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster and partners such as Japan need assurance that it will be avoided.

May told reporters that the only way to avoid such a scenario was for lawmakers to support her deal.

Japanese carmakers Nissan, Toyota and Honda build roughly half of Britain's nearly 1.7 million cars and have warned about the loss of any free and unfettered trade with the European Union after Brexit.

Carmakers have warned that their factories, which rely on the constant delivery of parts to enter production cycles, would be severely damaged if Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal, forcing the need for customs checks at borders.

In a sign of the concern, Honda said on Thursday it would shut its British operations for six days in April to help it counter any disruption.

"This is to facilitate production recovery activity following any delays at borders on parts," Honda said in a statement. "These contingency provisions have been put in place to best mitigate the risk of disruption to production operations at the Swindon factory."

Japan's ambassador to Britain, Koji Tsuruoka, issued a blunt warning about Brexit last February when he said Japanese companies would have to leave Britain if trade barriers made them unprofitable.

Abe and May said they had discussed strengthening post-Brexit economic opportunities for both nations, with the Japanese leader welcoming Britain's interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

50 Comments
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No deal would be a disaster for Britain.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

A no deal will be best for the UK, a clean break and no 39 billion to pay. Abe keep your nose out of it.

-7 ( +14 / -21 )

JP Inc. should leave the island.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Japanese carmakers Nissan, Toyota and Honda build roughly half of Britain's nearly 1.7 million cars and have warned about the loss of any free and unfettered trade with the European Union after Brexit.

Worried about "free and unfettered trade"? Talk about hypocrisy, what about HERE?

5 ( +15 / -10 )

because moving the corporate HQs to Berlin and Paris would be mendokusai

2 ( +8 / -6 )

By world he means his drinking buddies that are propping him up despite the corruption scandals hanging on his head. I'm still baffled at how he still gets a pass. Oops! No I'm not. Own the press, own the narrative.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

By world he means his drinking buddies

PM Abe never touches alcohol.

As PM Abe says, it is hoped UK leaves the EU ASAP, and smoothly. Uncertainty hurts the Japanese Corporations based in England and their profits. PM Abe and May get on very well, really nice photo!

1 ( +13 / -12 )

Abe mansplaining

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I want Japan, the UK, and the US allied and united in the current world order.

The alternative and challenging order is one of totalitarianism and even bigger governance and less human rights and freedom.

If the majority of people in the UK wanted out then the EU should let em leave without consequences. If they fix their house then maybe the UK would consider rejoining.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

"That is why we truly hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided and, in fact, that is the wish of the whole world."

The last part of that statement is truly breathtaking in its arrogance and presumption.

Abe can speak for the Japanese government and express his views on what Japanese industry has told him. He can even express the Japanese government's support for May's "deal" with the EU.

But to say that the whole world wishes for a no-deal Brexit is absolutely false.

Least of all as it relates to the majority of British voters who voted for Brexit, most of whom favor a no-deal, WTO terms Brexit. Essentially Abe is telling them that their vote doesn't matter and that their wishes are irrelevant.

Sheer arrogance.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

@Yubaru

have you not heard about Japan’s lifting of the ban on British beef and lamb and also Hamley’s plan to open 30 stores in Japan over the next five years?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sheer arrogance.

He meant "I think....the majority of the world"   It has something to do with vague Japanese language or his poor English skill than arrogance.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Abe can't even fix Japan, so shouldn't be advising on anyone else's politics!

Roll on March 29th!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Being a major investor in UK, Japan has its stake in brexit, and its Abe's job to protect his country's interests.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I sometimes think that the Abe haters on JT go through everything he says with a fine tooth comb to try and find something - anything - to diss him with. There's nothing unreasonable in anything he says here, and surely most of the people in the world, if not actually every single person in it, hope that the UK - now that it has to put its incomprehensible decision to leave Europe into action - can make the Brexit with as little damage to itself. and everyone else, as possible?

And surely it's incumbent upon a Japanese PM to represent the interests of his country and its businesses as efficiently and smoothy as possible, and to support the UK in trying to do that?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Ah, Abe... speaking on behalf of the world again. No, actually... what the world does NOT want is Brexit, plain and simple, and clearly most Britains Don't want that either. They also Don't want Japan butting in for clearly vested interests and publicly stating what they want when it is not true.

tinawatanabe: "He meant "I think....the majority of the world"

You also like to speak on behalf of others, and here are telling us what a person meant instead of what you want them to be perceived as having said. He did not say "I think", and if the language of Japanese is so vague, then you can't even state as fact that's what he meant to begin with.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Abe is now a spokesperson for the world..? What a twisted idea!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@smithinjapan

No, actually... what the world does NOT want is Brexit, plain and simple, and clearly most Britains Don't want that either.

I think you'll find most Britons do want it.

Elites don't want Brexit, but most ordinary people who learn about the EU and what being a member of it means, admit that they wouldn't want it for their own country.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I hate Abe but he's pretty much stating the obvious here. The idea of the UK crashing out with no deal was dismissed as laughable when the Leave referendum was held. A majority may have chosen Leave but they did not choose No Deal. It is only the current government's incompetence and the impending leave date that have made No Deal an actual possibility.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I'm not sure Brexit can be stopped at this point. It seems that neither Labour or the Tories have any idea what do to next. But whatever happens I'm sure Britain will muddle through. Always have. Brexit isn't the end of the world no matter what the press moans about.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

British people do not want to be ruled through Washington or New York like Japan.They are realist people. Trump Pet you're just ridiculous.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Elites don't want Brexit

You mean like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson?

You know, Etonians and all that. Trying to frame this as the elites v the ‘ordinary people’ is very misleading.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

To my British friends on here; this is just my Personal opinion. So regardless what you want out of Brexit (in eu/out of eu) know that this is Nothing against you and I respect your opinions.

I am Japanese living in Norway, I have lived here since 2008 and I've seen many times the UK wants Norwegian-style EU deal. That's not going to happen.

The reasons are many, but the most simplistic reason I can think of is this: Norway has Never been a part of the European Union, it was a founding member of Nato, Norway is a VERY important location in Europe due to its seaways and (somewhat) close friendship with Russia.

IDK the Russian government's stance on Norway, but the average Russian loves Norway, and while most Norwegians don't really like their government, we like them. Russians travel to Norway on a daily basis to buy daily goods such as diapers, foods, et cetera. Norwegians go there for cheaper tech (phones, what have you).

And thus the average joe Russian and Norwegian have become friends, so if Russia was to invade Europe that'd really rile up their general public.. Also, Russia has Nothing to gain invading Norway. Despite Norway being a NATO member and a direct neighbor to Russia, we're somewhat lucky because we cooperate a lot with the Russians and they know we, by ourselves, are not a threat with our measly 5 mil population.

We cooperate in the seas surrounding Norway and Russia's east, we drill for oil together and while "Svalbard" belongs to Norway, 13% of the people there are Russians, and guess what, they get along with the Norwegians.

So in a sense, Norway may be small and insignificant, but due to its weird (but somewhat close) relationship to Russia and its geographical location, we're too much of an asset to the EU to want to impose too many restrictions on us, not only that, but we usually follow EU laws and pay lots to the EU for benefits.

The UK on the other hand, has no real geographical value, they do not provide Europe with tons of oil like Norway, they're not a last-defense spot for any hostile nation AND (but most importantly) they are the First country to try to leave the EU, so the EU wants the process to be hard and time consuming, making other nations think twice before leaving.

I do agree that a no-brexit deal is bad, Not only for the UK, but also for Europe.

If the UK doesn't get anything positive from Europe, what incentive does the UK have to come to Europe's aid in a war or even invest in Europe's market? In my opinion the EU has proven its point making the UK struggle to leave, but they should meat half way.

Sure the UK may not be part of mainland Europe, but they're still Europeans, and I'd much rather have the average Briton looking favorable on Europe than thinking we're all a bunch of dimwits.

Europe should stick together, even if not under an EU-established system, we should treat each other as friends, family and allies. Europeans aren't that strong by themselves, but together, we're almost untouchable.

I at least hope that no matter what happens or how the outcome of this will be, it will benefit both mainland Europe and my fellow UK citizens as best as it can.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Invading Nowray*

Russia's WEST*

Just correcting a few things in my post above, as I can't seem to be able to edit it (in case you wanted to point that out or got confused), if you read you will probably notice fairly quick what part I wanted to edit :) Cheers!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The EU will not change any of its conditions to benefit the UK as countless trips by May have shown.

The UK is better off outside the EC to renegotiate trading conditions.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

For better or worse, the British public doesn't respond to 外圧 very well. Obama's support for the leave campaign only strengthened the other side.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A no deal will be best for the UK, a clean break and no 39 billion to pay. Abe keep your nose out of it.

39billion is a drop in the bucket to whats alreay leaving the UK, estimate show about 800billin pounds in assets has already left the UK for the EU and will likely accelerate if a no-deal is reached. those UK factories will be next and all those jobs linked to it. things are going to get real bad for the UK population if that happens.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/07/brexit-uk-financial-services-sector-moves-1-trillion-in-assets-to-eu.html

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@ MiaTanaka

It is nice to hear things from the Norway perspective.

The UK is quite valuable to the EU because it is the second largest net financial contributor.

https://order-order.com/2017/01/12/eu-faces-funding-cliff-edge/

Almost 10% of the EU budget is paid by the UK. If the UK stops paying, the other member will either have to pay more (which nobody wants to), or the EU budget will have to be reduced. Without the UK's money, everything will come to a halt. This is why the EU is making the leaving process as difficult as possible.

Many people assume that British people who want to leave the EU are against Europe. But this isn't correct. To British people, the "EU" and "Europe" are very different things. British people in general have a very positive opinion of Europe. It's just that they don't want to be part of a federalized superstate.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It is inevitable that people will draw the wrong conclusion when they base their decision on incorrect data. This is what happened in the referendum. The Leave campaign blatantly lied to the voters, the people now realise this. That is why the Leavers do not want another referendum. They know they would lose.

I am a frequent Abe critic, but in this case he is right, and he has as much right to criticise the UK as I, a Brit, have to criticise Abe or Japan. All can benefit from insightful criticism.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

"Japan is in total support of the draft withdrawal agreement worked out between the EU and Prime Minister May which provides for transition to ensure legal stability for businesses that have invested into this country,"

Hypothetically, roles reversed, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe government, would not have countenanced a strategy so incompetent and flawed.

Let alone negotiating a deal so inferior and deficient. For Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to commit his total support is rather imperious and a tad disingenuous.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could have stated the obvious and highlight corporate Japan vested interests.

On the up side, over 1200 HGV trundle daily to and fro, back and forth to maintain a just in time automotive supply chain production methodology.

If UK was to withdraw in March, by December air pollution emissions from these vehicles would be considerably reduced. And lets not forget the destructive effect from the Common Agricultural policy...........Not all doom and gloom...

The one good thing about Brexit? Leaving the EU’s disgraceful farming system..........

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/10/brexit-leaving-eu-farming-agriculture

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Tankergine2000

Thank you for responding with some criticism, but in a respectful way. I will return the favor to you.

Yes I know the UK has a lot of GDP, it has one of the best trained marines and special forces in Europe, it once held the largest (since the Mongols) empire in the world, and although it was an invader of most nations, I will give the UK some props, it did treat the ingineous(?) with some respect.

Look at Hong Kong, under British rule it became the most influential city in all of China, the HK citizens value criticism and democracy, and even today, they fight to keep the rights they had under UK rule. Funny isn't it?

The UK treated them better than China. I have nothing against Chinese people btw (just an fyi to any readers on here), but their government need some change for the better good.

I do not think the British are necessarily against Europeans, just a lot of them (you?) are against the European Union and the way they're controlling the sovereignty of other countries.. too much.

I have many British friends, and despite their funny accent (to me at least), they are some of the kindest people I've met, and That is why I added that last remark about the Britons. I don't want them to think all of Europe hate Britain because the EU is giving them a hard time, whether you are in the EU or not, to many of mainland European citizens, you are a valuable ally, asset, and to many normal citizens, fantastic friends.

I can not speak for many Norwegians since I only lived here going on my 11th year, but I agree that Europe tries to control more than necessary. In my opinion the EU should be just a military alliance and free border crossings (granted only to naturalized Europeans or foreign Europeans with no criminal record).

Thank you for your input, and if you are British, do know that I value your country and its contributions to Europe.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

abe you’re a totally useless leader of Japan. Just keep your nose out of the UK,s affairs. Would you like it if we told you what to do?

I really hope we leave the ec on a no deal, save this ridiculous 39 million payment for nothing and become an independent nation again. After a short period of turbulence, it will be great for the UK. We just have to leave quickly the German mafia ec.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The UK is better off outside the EC to renegotiate trading conditions.

why 100s billions in corportae assets are already leaving the UK to the EU, what makes people think the EU will suddenly give favourable conditions to the UK becuase they reached a no deal. The EU will make being in the EU more favourable than not otherwise why would any EU member want to stay. nope more assets and jobs will continue to leave the UK for the EU where there are no tarriffs. Do people really think UK manufacturers will want to pay export tariifs to the EU when they can just set up fatories there and pay no tarriffs.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Elites don't want Brexit, but most ordinary people who learn about the EU and what being a member of it means, admit that they wouldn't want it for their own country.

If the majority of people in the UK wanted out then the EU should let em leave without consequences.

Lets make one fact very clear - the democratic "majority" that keeps being rammed down our throats was only 52%. That means that 48% of the voters wanted to remain. And that was at the height of the false propaganda. If you ran the referendum today it would be at least be 50-50.

And in some whole regions - Scotland and Northern Ireland - larger majority's wanted to remain. Scotland wants to remain by 62%. So the London-centric government is sticking to history by ignoring the Scottish and Northern Irish.

Cameron should never have offered a deciding referendum. Playing with peoples livliehoods like some game show host linked to his political career. Brexit is not guaranteed anyway. May will lose her vote on Tuesday and there will be a general election. The country is in a mess and sterling will crash.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@MiaTanaka

Thank you for your kind words. It was not my intent to criticise in any way.

Yes, I am British. And yes, I am not a supporter of the EU. I am a supporter of Europe :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@MiaTanaka

I have many British friends, and despite their funny accent (to me at least), they are some of the kindest people I've met, and That is why I added that last remark about the Britons. I don't want them to think all of Europe hate Britain because the EU is giving them a hard time, whether you are in the EU or not, to many of mainland European citizens, you are a valuable ally, asset, and to many normal citizens, fantastic friends.

> You think we talk funny? This isn’t about the world finding peace or happy happy joy joy bunnies and foxes running around in harmony, this problem has been happening since before you even came here.

This will be a good change for Britain.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is not democracy.

Out of 33M votes 16M wanted to remain within the EU. How can you make such a drastic constitutional change with that proportion?

A majority should have meant at least 65%, something else that Cameron missed, and if Scotland voted by 62% to remain their region should be given the option to remain in the EU (yes that means independence for Scotland who would remain in the EU).

And another thing, where are those brave leaders of Brexit now? Farage and Johnson? Where are their leadership skills when "their" Brexit is such a monumental mess?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Abe says world does not want no-deal Brexit

So Abe speaks for the whole world now.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

TigersTokyoDome ****“So the London-centric government is sticking to history by ignoring the Scottish and Northern Irish.”

You're a tad misinformed there, London voted 60%/40% to remain in the EU. So the economic powerhouse of the UK too is being ignored. Although I do think Brexit is a serious threat to the Union nothing is served by perpetuating misinformation and inaccuracy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So the economic powerhouse of the UK too is being ignored

SwissToni, Londoners do not constitute the powerhouse of the UK. London-centric means politicians from the Home Counties.

You understood what I meant, there is no misinformation or inaccuracy. The Scots and Irish have been sat on throughout history. You know exactly that my point means British (usually Tory) government based in Westminster making crucial decisions affecting lives in Scotland and Northern Ireland. I'm from London, so I know very well that in London we wanted to remain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is Japanese prime minister spokesman of "Whole World" ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The referendum was a massive error of judgement and the result even worse anyone who thinks Britain is still some sort of imperial business power is delusional

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A no deal will be best for the UK, a clean break and no 39 billion to pay. Abe keep your nose out of it.

Spot on.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A no deal will be best for the UK, a clean break and no 39 billion to pay.

It would be far from clean, and it's insanity to think it would be better to go out with no deal than with a negotiated deal.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'd go for a Commonwealth Union. UK, Canada, Australia, new zealand, Jamaica, etc together would be one huge economic bloc. Linguistically and legal system-wise, they are much more similar than Europe. They also all have the same head of state (HM Queen Elizabeth II). Technically, they could even go for a stronger and more unified EU (really need a European council and commission?).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Is Article 50 about to be extended? It a rumour of course, however May's cabinet office is reputedly briefing UK MEP's.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TigersTokyoDome, I’d prefer you didnt decide what I know or understand for me. If you meant politicians from the southeast, or for want of a better phrase the “Westminster bubble”, then writing “the London-centric government” can do nothing but confuse.

London and the people that live and work there are by far the largest regional economy in the UK. Like it or not, its tax take is supporting most of the spending in the rest of the UK, Londoners too are being ignored. It’s not an issue of oppressing the Scots or Northern Irish, rather we are witnessing a power grab, a coup if you like, by Eurosceptic Tories who have seized this opportunity to turn the clock back on UK politics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So Abe speaks for the whole world now.

no just for the Japanese businesses within the UK, gets too expensive with tarriffs, then theyll leave.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A no deal will be best for the UK, a clean break and no 39 billion to pay. Abe keep your nose out of it.

going to cost the UK far more than 39billion in the long run, sitting at about 800billion now and counting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

juminRheeJan. 11  10:26 pm JST

I'd go for a Commonwealth Union.

Assuming the nations you mention have any interest at all in a union with the UK, you would swap a union of 500m people on your doorstep for a union of small states dotted around the globe with a market size a quarter of your current one?

The future of the UK is in safe hands.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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