■ EU Referendum in the UK – Comment from the Consul General
The 23rd of June was the day of the EU Referendum in the UK, and that night, I stayed awake all night to follow the results. Honestly speaking, I was surprised when it became clear that Leave had a majority despite the prior forecast which predicted Remain’s victory with a narrow margin. Early the next morning, I took a taxi to the Consulate to set about working.
Exchange rates and stock prices showed violent fluctuations. The unexpected outcome came as a great shock to the rest of the world including Japan. On the 11th of July, the Consulate General of Japan invited Japanese firms in Scotland to discuss Brexit and its implications. A representative Scottish Enterprise (the economic development agency of the Scottish Government dealing with foreign companies in Scotland) was also present at the meeting.
There, concerns were expressed whether the EU would remain as a market for their products as well as a reliable source of human resources. Furthermore, it was pointed out that their biggest concern was uncertainty itself. What is most important is to know the end results of the Brexit negotiations as soon as possible so that they can get themselves ready to deal with them sooner than later. The Consulate General of Japan has been already conveying to the Scottish Government various concerns of Japanese firms, and is resolved to do so as ever. Also, we intend to provide opportunities and platforms for information sharing and opinion exchanges.