Japan's premier will 'continue to trust British economy after Brexit'

Japanese PM visit to UK

Japan's prime minister has said he will "continue to trust" the UK's economy after Brexit has taken place, as he states that maintaining an open Europe is a matter of concern to the world.

Shinzo Abe also said Kim Jong Un's continued launches were a "clear challenge against the international community", hours after new ballistic missile tests were carried out by North Korea.

Mr Abe made the statements at central London's Dorchester Hotel following a meeting with Theresa May at Chequers on Friday.

After talks at her country retreat, Mrs May hailed Japan as "our closest Asian security partner" and an important economic ally, as she noted that 1,000 Japanese companies including Honda, Hitachi and Mitsubishi employ 14,000 people in Britain.

Pressed on whether he was worried about the Government's stance of a hard Brexit, he said through a translator: "With regard to the Brexit negotiations, maintaining an open Europe is a matter of concern to the world.

"Japan, along with the UK and the EU, will continue to play the role of the standard bearers of free trade," he said.

Mr Abe said it is his expectation that stakeholders and investors from outside the EU will be able to have "clear future prospects" following Brexit.

With regards to strengthening Japan and UK trade relations following the split, he added: "I continue to trust the UK's economy after its separation from the EU.

"As I share the view with Prime Minister May yesterday, in order to maintain and strengthen Japan's economic relations with the UK after its separation from the EU, we would like to continue with the expectation of opinions with the UK concerning how Japan and UK economic relations should be."