CBI boss hails North East's special relationship with Japan

There are real ‘reasons for optimism’ for the North East Economy, says one of the country’s leading business figures.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 4:12 pm
Updated Friday, 21st June 2019, 12:20 pm
Nissan is one of the Japanese firms employing thousands of people in the region

CBI Deputy Director General Josh Hardie will praise the region’s strong links with Japan at the organisation’s North East dinner on Thurdsday, June 20.

Speaking alongside Japanese Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka, he will say that the two nations have ‘strong ties’ and both countries have ‘benefited’ from the relationship.

“Japan is an old and valued friend to the UK,” he will say.

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Josh Hardie

“Our connections extend across business, culture and people. And the CBI has been honoured to make a small contribution to those connections.

“The relationship between the North East and Japan can be traced back to, I’m told, around 1862. Now the region is proudly home to around 50 businesses who employ around 14,000 people.”

“We must look beyond Brexit. The partnership between our countries has endured, and it must endure still. We’ve each benefited from the thousands of jobs British companies have created in Japan and the jobs Japanese companies have created here.

“So, let me make a bold claim. I’m going to say that, actually, despite all the challenges, I believe Japanese businesses investing in the UK……do have cause for optimism looking ahead.”

Koji Tsuruoka, Japanese Ambassador to the UK

On continuing ties between North East businesses and Japan, he will say: “We’ve each invested billions in innovation, training, and infrastructure. And vitally – we share a commitment to freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Essential foundations for any stable economy.

“So let me briefly mention how we see the challenges that lie ahead. First, I’d like to be clear that the CBI understands – that when it comes to investment, many Japanese firms choose the UK because of our access to the EU market.

“It is why our first message to a new British Prime Minister, will be to echo the calls of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – for ‘predictability and transparency’ in our Brexit negotiations.

“We will continue to make the case for frictionless trade with the EU. And above all, clarity and certainty for businesses to minimise disruption to Japanese supply chains – which are so closely woven between the UK and Europe.”