Japanese businesses set to invest £18bn in UK, says Rishi Sunak

Japanese businesses set to invest £18bn in UK, says Rishi Sunak

Japanese businesses are committing to invest nearly £18 billion in the UK, Rishi Sunak has announced as he meets the bosses of major firms in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister said the pledges are a “massive vote of confidence” in the British economy after he painted an optimistic outlook for the national finances.

But Mr Sunak has ordered talks with the EU about automotive concerns, following warnings of an “existential threat” posed by a looming Brexit trade deal deadline.

Mr Sunak set out the investments as he prepares to host a reception of business chiefs in the Japanese capital on Thursday, seeking to foster closer ties ahead of attending the G7 summit in Hiroshima.

He expects to meet bosses of Nissan, Toshiba and Mitsubishi Estate, as well as representatives from UK firms Octopus Energy and Mott MacDonald.

Nissan has issued warnings about the costs of manufacturing electric cars at its Sunderland plant because of high energy costs and inflation.

Vauxhall’s parent company Stellantis said on Tuesday it will be unable to keep a commitment to make electric vehicles in the UK without changes to the EU trade deal as a tariff deadline approaches.

Speaking to broadcasters on board the JS Izumo aircraft carrier in the Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo, the Prime Minister said: “It’s something that car manufacturers across Europe, not just in the UK, have raised as a concern.

“And as a result of that we are engaged in a dialogue with the EU about how we might address those concerns when it comes to auto manufacturing more generally.”

On concerns about UK battery making capacity, Mr Sunak said: “Nissan have invested a billion pounds in battery manufacturing capability in the North East.

“I’ll be talking to the Nissan CEO and other Japanese business leaders later about investment into the UK.”

Downing Street said the £17.7 billion of new investments in businesses and projects in the UK will create high-skilled jobs and drive innovation.

The Marubeni trading house intends to sign plans envisioning spending around of £10 billion in the UK to boost offshore wind and green projects in Wales and Scotland, No 10 said.

A £4 billion expansion of UK offshore wind projects off Suffolk and Norfolk by the Sumitomo Corporation was also billed.

Mr Sunak envisioned even greater ties will come after the UK joins a Pacific trading bloc, saying the “sky’s the limit”.

“These new investments are a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s dynamic economy, from some of Japan’s top firms,” he said.

The Prime Minister will have dinner with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Thursday.

They are unveiling a new agreement called the “Hiroshima Accord” to foster closer defence, security and cyber ties amid growing concerns about the threat from China.

Mr Sunak will commit to deploying a naval battle fleet in the Indo-Pacific in 2025 and to double UK troop numbers in upcoming joint exercises.

He will agree to launch a partnership on semiconductors in order to reduce the reliance on Beijing for the supply of the essential microchips before attending the G7 summit.

The Prime Minister will share talks with world leaders, including US President Joe Biden during the summit, which is expected to focus on economic security and support for Ukraine.

But he will not hold more personal bilateral talks with Mr Biden, instead sitting down with Mr Kishida, France’s Emmanuel Macron and India’s Narendra Modi.