Speaking at a joint news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron in May 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it would be better for the world for Britain to stay in the bloc.

“British membership is also best for Japanese investors in the UK,” he said, adding that about 1,000 Japanese companies operate in the UK employing 140,000 people.

“Many of the Japanese companies set up their operations in the UK precisely because the UK is a gateway to the EU,” Mr. Abe said. “A vote to leave would make the UK less attractive as a destination for Japanese investment.”  Mr. Abe also said Britain has a greater voice in trade talks because it is part of the EU.

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In 2013 Japan’s government came out in support of the UK staying in the EU, in a statement released to the British government. In response to the UK Balance of Competencies review, the Japanese government suggested that up to 130,000 jobs could be at risk if the UK leaves the EU:

“The UK, as a champion of free trade, is a reliable partner for Japan. More than 1,300 Japanese companies have invested in the UK, as part of the single market of the EU, and have created 130,000 jobs, more than anywhere else in Europe…this fact demonstrates that the advantage of the UK as a gateway to the European market has attracted Japanese investment.”

Japan’s government made it clear that the UK’s membership of the EU plays a significant role Japan’s view of Britain:

“The Government is committed to making its relationship with the EU stronger than ever before.  In this context, it expects that the UK will maintain a strong voice and continue to play a major role in the EU.”

Read more on the BBC website.