Japanese foreign minister's warning over future of businesses like Nissan in the UK

Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono said his country is concerned a no-deal Brexit could disrupt supply chains for Japanese companies in the UK.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 8:57 am
Updated Thursday, 27th June 2019, 6:37 pm
Nissan's Sunderland plant, which employs thousands across the region.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday, June 27, he revealed that some companies have already started moving their operation to other parts of Europe due to uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

As it stands, the UK is due to leave the EU without any trade agreement on October 31.

Mr Kono said: “We do not want to disrupt the economic relationship with the UK. We've been asking the UK government to let the Japanese companies know what to expect."

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The minister also said that Japanese companies operating in the UK currently have a “very smooth operation” for their stock – but a no-deal Brexit could affect how these operations continue.

He added: “Please, no no-deal Brexit.”

Following the result of 2016’s EU Referendum, Nissan received ‘assurances’ from the UK Government about continuing to run operations in England.

The original date for the UK to leave the EU was March 29, 2019.

The company’s plant in Washington employs thousands of people across the North East and produces around 2,000 cars each day.

Earlier this year, the company announced that the new X-Trail model will not be built in Sunderland due to “business reasons”, including rules over diesel engines and reduced sales.

In March, Nissan also confirmed its plans to stop producing Infiniti vehicles in Sunderland this year as part of a withdrawal from Western Europe by early 2020.