BANGKOK – Foreign Minister Taro Kono urged his new British counterpart, Dominic Raab, on Thursday to achieve an “orderly” exit from the European Union to minimize the impact on the global economy.
In their first talks since Raab was named foreign secretary by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 24, Kono also called for efforts to ensure the withdrawal does not hurt Japanese companies operating in Britain, according to Japan’s Foreign Ministry.
Several Japanese financial firms are preparing to move their main European offices away from London, while Honda Motor Co. said earlier this year it will close its Swindon, England, plant in 2021. Toyota Motor Corp. has said it may end production in Britain around 2023 if the country exits the bloc without an agreement.
During the talks on the sidelines of annual ASEAN-related meetings in Bangkok, Kono said he hopes Britain will remain an attractive investment destination for Japanese companies even after leaving the European Union.
Raab, seen as a hard-line Brexiteer, assured Kono that the utmost effort will be made to address such concerns, the ministry said.
Johnson is seeking to strike a deal with the European Union by Oct. 31 but has vowed to leave the bloc “come what may” by the deadline, fanning concerns of a no-deal Brexit.
Kono, meanwhile, welcomed Britain’s interest in joining a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-member free trade deal that covers 13 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and gives access to a market of 500 million people.
The members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which took effect in late December, are looking to expand the pact’s membership base by inviting other countries.