South Shields hosts Japanese Ambassador as he visits North East

The Japanese Ambassador said Japan would prefer the UK to stay in the single market, as he met business and public sector leaders in South Shields.

By Sarah Sinclair
Saturday, 22 June, 2019, 06:00
Japanese Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka meets South Tyneside Council leader Cllr Iain Malcolm and Mayor Norman Dick ahead of addressing the North East Economic Forum

Koji Tsuruoka addressed members of the North East Economic Forum (NEEF) at South Shields Town Hall yesterday.

Ambassador Tsuruoka was clear that Japan would prefer the UK to stay in the single market after Brexit, in order to provide assurance to global investors, although he did not see any immediate threat of Japanese investors pulling out of the North East.

Japanese Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka meets South Tyneside Council leader Cllr Iain Malcolm and Mayor Norman Dick ahead of addressing the North East Economic Forum

Currently 40% of Japanese investment into Europe comes into the UK and since the 1970s Japan has invested extensively in the North East economy.

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South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcom said: “I was extremely grateful that the Ambassador was willing to spend so much time with us, giving some reassurance about future Japanese investment.

He added: “Whilst I respect the outcome of the referendum and the decision that we exit the European Union, I personally believe that we have got to stay in the single market because not to do so will have a detrimental effect on investment opportunities in the future, and of course, the viability of assets such as the Port of Tyne, who rely upon the single market to transport their goods to continental Europe.”During his visit, Ambassador Tsuruoka also admired South Shields seafront and said regions such as the North East need to make more of their toursim potential.

Japanese Ambassador Koji Tsuruoka addresses the North East Economic Forum with speaker BBC Richard Moss