In a submission to a Foreign Office review, the Japanese government has warned of the negative repercussions of the UK leaving the European single market.
Tokyo is working to make its relationship with the European Union “stronger than ever before”, and – according to the memo – it sees the UK as a gateway to the European market.
The position of the Japanese has put the debate on the relationship between the UK and the EU under the spotlight again (David Cameron said he will hold a referendum on UK membership by the end of 2017 if he is still in office).
The document submitted to the Foreign Office hinted to the possibility for the more than 1,300 Japanese companies operating in the UK (accounting for 130,000 jobs) to review their position should Britain cease to play its “major role” in Europe.
The Japanese embassy in London said: “If the UK leaves the single market, countries investing in the UK and exporting to the EU would have to pay tariffs, and that is not good news.”
According to the document, Japan “expects that the UK will maintain a strong voice and continue to play a major role in the EU.”