European Union lobbyists clash after Japan call

RIVAL campaign groups clashed yesterday after the Japanese government warned the UK not to quit the EU.

Rory Broomfield of Better Off Out hit back at Japan, saying that free trade would continue unhindered even were the UK to leave the EU. He said: “It’s free trade – not membership – that promotes productivity, jobs and growth.” Other sceptics highlighted that Japan had repeatedly and wrongly warned that the UK would lose out if it didn’t join the euro.

The pro-EU campaign welcomed the intervention. Business for New Europe director Phillip Souta said: “Japan is saying that if the UK were to leave the EU, the 130,000 jobs its companies have created in the UK would be at risk.”

Japan was responding to David Cameron’s promise to renegotiate Britain’s EU role. Japan’s statement said: “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.”