Japan’s foreign minister Taro Kono said he has told both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson to avoid a no-deal Brexit, he told the BBC.
Speaking to the Today programme Kono said he knows both of the prospective Tory leaders “very well” and he said to both of them in meetings “please no no-deal Brexit.”
He said that Japanese companies are “very concerned” over the implications of Britain leaving without a deal.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s G20 meeting on Osaka he said, “Whenever we had a meeting, that was one of the major issues – please… no no-deal Brexit.”
He added, “There are over 1,000 Japanese companies operating in the United Kingdom so we are very concerned with this no-deal Brexit. That would have a very negative impact on their operations.
“So, whoever wins, whoever becomes a new leader for the UK, I hope they would consider those foreign companies operating in the United Kingdom and take good care of it”.
Johnson has said the chances of the UK leaving the EU without a deal are a “million to one,” whilst Hunt prefers a deal on the table.
Kono said, “So we’ve been asking the UK government, let the Japanese companies know what they can expect, and things should happen smoothly without any disruption.”
He said that car makers are worried over free flow of products to and fro the UK to the EU if the UK crashes out, and firms have already moved operations into Europe.
“Right now, they have very smooth operations. Their stock for each part is only for a few hours.
“But if there is no-deal Brexit, and if they have to go through actual custom inspection physically, those operations may not be able to continue.
“And many companies are worried about [the] implications because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”