"Japanese companies are treading water at the moment"

Major Japanese companies such as car giant Nissan are deterring from investing in North East UK due to Brexit uncertainty.

Chronicle Live reports that Japan’s ambassador to the UK Koji Tsuruoka expressed warnings about job security following the impact of Brexit.

Tsuroka said Japanese firms including Nissan and Hitachi, which have bases in Sunderland and Newton Acyliffe respectively, could look elsewhere if the UK leaves the single market.

Tsuruoka added, “[Japanese companies] are currently considering and thinking and watching very closely what they need to do. That is why they are not investing additionally today.”

“If you are proposing in your board meeting in a company that you need to invest more and build more cars in the UK today there will be questions, and those are questions that are very difficult to answer today with certainty and therefore decisions are put off.”

Japanese firms had invested in the UK on the promise of access to the European Union through a single market, Tsuruoka said.

“The reason that many of those companies have come is that this is the best gateway to Europe If that is in danger, if that is no longer sustainable, of course they will have to look at what they will have to do best. The existing arrangement for the single market is a total frictionless trade.”

Highlighting Tsuruoka’s warnings, Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said Japanese companies are waiting to see what happens.

“Japanese companies are treading water at the moment,” he said. “To expect to achieve something better than the single market and customs union is pie in the sky.”

Wilson added that employment in the north is somewhat dependent on these firms. “There are a lot of jobs in the North East of England especially that rely on Japanese investment,” he added. “What I want to see is those companies grow from strength to strength.”

Wilson went on to say that companies from other companies could also share similar concerns.

“It’s not only large Japanese companies that need to think long and hard about this,” he said. “There are also smaller companies in the supply chain that may not see themselves as exporting to Europe because they are selling to businesses here in the North East, but actually they depend on the European market.”