Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Views from Tokyo: Should Britain vote to leave the EU?

by Andrew Field

Staff Writer

Chris Cleary, 60
Financial adviser (British)
No, I don’t. To leave the EU, as a free trade area, would be utterly stupid. All the companies based in the U.K. would move to Germany, Holland or wherever. The trouble is that the EU has morphed into an oligarchy of French socialists, and the Germans have always been happy to keep them in because they just don’t want another war. If we stay in, we should make a big noise about the fact that “OK, we are doing you guys a favor.”

Angel Sanchez, 38
IT consultant (Spanish)
After the Second World War, it is better to be part of a big group — best for everybody. There’s much they have achieved — with not only trade, but they can go anywhere in the EU — in the end, it improves multiculturalism, so I think it’s best that they stay. Also, people from the U.K. can retire in Spain and enjoy life there. It has also helped youngsters in Spain because the country is struggling, and to find a job the U.K. is easier, so it is a really good opportunity.

Koichi Yamamoto, 44
Self-employed (Japanese)
I think that they should leave the European Union. The U.K. has not adopted the EU currency because if it did, it would have (financial) conflicts and be codependent with France. The U.K. has always been considered by the rest of the EU as an independent nation.

Louise Rouse, 30
Adjunct art professor (British)
I don’t think they should leave the EU. Britain has had an influx of different cultures from all across the world for eons. There is no “pure British race” — that just doesn’t exist. There was a mixture of Vikings, Saxons, Celts and, beyond that, we have our colonial past, and we’ve had immigration from Europe over the centuries. On the argument of immigration, it just doesn’t make sense to me to close our borders.

Tom Kasprzynski, 45
Property management (Polish)
Yes, as the EU is not protecting British rights, and I believe that what Adolf Hitler couldn’t do with guns, (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel is doing with banks. There were no terrorists in Europe, but Merkel brought in terrorists and suicide bombers. The EU is doing nothing good for me, my family and friends. A nation should be governed by its own politicians, not from Brussels. When the EU collapses, it will be better for Europe.

Shinichi Miura, 52
Engineer (Japanese)
They should not leave the EU because Britain and France are opinion leaders. Germany and Japan are wealthy countries, but they don’t have the power to lead with opinion, so we need to depend on Britain and France. And thinking about factors going back to WWII, I believe that’s another reason why Britain should remain. If there is a “Brexit,” I think life will go backwards. British citizens are maybe worried about remaining in the EU because they’ll have to look after poor countries.

Alistair Howard, 50
Professor (British)
I don’t think they should leave. The EU is economically beneficial to Europe in terms of trade and migration. Free travel around Europe and free labor-market movement is generally a good thing, although it could have been handled better in terms of immigration into Britain, which has affected low-wage workers disproportionately. Also, Britain, a declining country, has more diplomatic and economic negotiating power within the EU.

Sue, 55
English language teacher (British)
My heart is in, my head is out! The European Union is certainly important in terms of peace and stability, but economically, I’m worried that the small group of decision-makers within the EU wield such an enormous concentration of power and can easily be manipulated and ultimately persuaded by money and big corporations, which is dangerous for democracy.

Emil Jafarzade, 29
Ph.D student and part-time IT consultant (Azerbaijani)
I think the U.K. shouldn’t leave because it would lead to a deficit of political leadership in the European Union. I think that the U.K. leaving would bring about a lot more losses than gains. Not only would the U.K. lose its leadership politically, it would lead to a deepening of crisis in immigration, because they need to coordinate their strategy with Europe on how to stop the flow of immigrants. So if it is going to leave, then it will not be able to have influence on decision-making at the European Union.

Interested in gathering views 
in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp