May visits Japan with 'lofty' goal of mirroring EU trade deal
Will PM's three-day trip allay Brexit fears and strengthen ties with Tokyo?
Theresa May began a short trip to Japan today, telling reporters that the UK wants to retain the terms of a nearly-finalised EU-Japan trade deal post-Brexit.
"There's obviously a number of trade deals that the EU has with other countries and we are looking at the possibility of those being able to be brought over into… trade deals with the United Kingdom," the Prime Minister said.
But persuading Japan to agree to trade with Britain on the same terms as the EU is a "lofty goal", Bloomberg writes. Prior to May's visit, Japanese officials said there would not be "substantial progress" on a trade deal until the UK's future relationship with the EU was clarified, dashing May's hopes, the Financial Times reports.
Senior government minister Yasutoshi Nishimura suggested yesterday that Japan needed the British Prime Minister to ease a "sense of crisis" among businesses that are heavily invested in the UK.
Japan's direct investment in the UK is more than £71bn. This consists of more than 1,000 Japanese businesses and 140,000 staff, the Daily Telegraph reports.
May is travelling with Industry Secretary Liam Fox, 15 UK business executives and the director general of the Confederation of British Industry and Trade.