Japan reportedly planned to cancel UK trade talks
Trade minister Liam Fox said on Monday that Japan was keen to agree a post-Brexit trade deal and believed it could be done "quite quickly".
The Financial Times earlier reported Japan had reacted with dismay to a letter from Fox and foreign minister Jeremy Hunt encouraging it to agree a quick trade deal with Britain as it was interpreted as an accusation of foot-dragging.
"My Japanese counterparts are very keen to do (a deal) because they think such an agreement could be concluded quite quickly," Fox said when asked by a reporter whether Japan may seek greater concessions from Britain when it had left the European Union.
Fox, who is in Tel Aviv to sign a continuity trade agreement with Israel, also said that most of Britain's trade with Japan to date has been done without a free trade agreement as an EU-Japan trade deal only entered into force at the beginning of February.
Simon Tisdall, writing in the Guardian noted that the lack of trade deals so far and the 'fumbled attempts to hustle' Japan into a quick roll-over deal, underlined the weakness of the UK as it scrambled to salvage some of the 46 free-trade deals.