Several papers wrote that Foreign Minister Kishida spoke by phone on Wednesday with British Foreign Secretary Hammond and called for the UK to make additional efforts to ensure smooth business operations by Japanese companies there. The Japanese official also called for the UK to make continued contributions to peace and security around the world, including the Asia-Pacific region. Hammond pledged assistance with Japan-EU EPA negotiations. In an interview with Nikkei on Wednesday, Kishida said Japan may need to negotiate an EPA with the UK separately from the EPA with the EU.
In a related item, Yomiuri ran an interview with British Ambassador Tim Hitchens, who emphasized that London will continue to attach importance to Tokyo since the two nations share basic values, such as the rule of law. He promised to protect Japanese business interests in his country since more than 150,000 people there are employed by Japanese firms.