Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has said Theresa May’s Brexit deal has his country’s “total support”, adding that the “whole world” wants to avoid the UK crashing out of the EU.
“We truly hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided,” Abe said at a Downing Street press conference on Thursday. “In fact, that is the wish of the whole world.”
The Japanese leader said he had the “deepest respect” for the “strong will and hard work” shown by May while trying to get a parliamentary majority for her deal.
“Japan and the UK have been building a very strong partnership, not only in the political arena but also the economic area,” Abe continued.
“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.”
Meanwhile, May told reporters that the UK’s relationship with countries like Japan would be “increasingly important” after Brexit, adding that the two “thriving, innovative island nations” were natural partners.
Japan and the UK have agreed a “deep and dynamic” partnership for the future, the PM added.
May also used the press conference to reiterate her plea to MPs to back her Brexit agreement.
“The only way to avoid no deal is to have a deal and to agree a deal, and the deal that is on the table, the deal that is the deal that the EU has made clear is the only deal,” she said.
“There’s an issue that’s been raised about the backstop, and we are continuing to work with the EU on that particular issue, but there is a good deal on the table and for those who want to avoid no deal then backing the deal is the thing to do.”
Her comments come less than a week before MPs cast their meaningful vote on her deal.