(26 April 2019) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged EU leaders to avoid a disorderly departure of the UK from the European Union “by all means” as both sides pledged to strengthen their economic ties at a bilateral summit on 25 April.
Brexit has been a source of concern for Japan ever since Britons voted to leave the EU in mid 2016. The issue was brought up once again during an EU-Japan summit in Brussels yesterday.
“For Japan, the UK is the gateway to Europe,” Abe told Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker. This is a message he also passed to British Prime Minister Theresa May, he added. “A no-deal Brexit is what we have to avoid by all means,” Abe insisted.
The EU-Japan summit was held two months after the entry into force of an EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. Once fully implemented, almost all tariffs on industrial goods will be eliminated in bilateral trade between the two sides.
Old and new challenges, including free trade, climate change, cybersecurity, and a stable Korea peninsula have brought the two sides closer in recent years. (Euractiv)