Japan’s Prime Minister has said that his country offers its “total support” to Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement.
Speaking alongside Mrs May following talks at 10 Downing Street, Shinzo Abe said that the “whole world” was hoping that the UK would not crash out of the European Union without a deal.
He made clear that Japanese companies, who employ more than 150,000 people in the UK, valued the legal stability offered by the transition period included in the Brexit deal agreed by Mrs May with Brussels.
“Japan and the UK have been building a very strong partnership, not only in the political arena but also the economic arena,” said Mr Abe.
“For Japan, the UK is the gateway to the European market – Japanese businesses have created 1,000 bases in the UK offering more than 150,000 jobs.
“It is the strong will of Japan to further develop this strong partnership with the UK, to invest more into your country and to enjoy further economic growth with the UK.
“That is why we truly hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided, and in fact that is the whole wish of the whole world.
“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.”
Mr Abe’s comments will be seen as a major boost for Mrs May as she fights to win the support of the House of Commons for her Withdrawal Agreement in a crucial vote next Tuesday.
The Japanese PM said: “The world is watching the UK as it exits the European Union.”
And in a personal tribute to Mrs May, he said: “I would like to extend my deepest respect for the strong will and hard work by Theresa for the parliamentary approval of the Withdrawal Agreement.”