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Japanese Prime Minister latest of Britain's allies to back UK's EU membership

Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, has become the latest international leader and ally to back Britain's membership of the EU:

Speaking today, Shinzo Abe said:

"Japan very clearly wishes the UK to remain in the EU. It's better for the world to have a strong EU. 

"More than 1,000 Japanese companies have a presence here in the UK, employing more than 140,000 people. Many of these companies were set up precisely because the UK is a 'gateway' to Europe. 

"Japan's priority is negotiating deals with big trading areas such as the EU. A vote to leave Europe would make the UK less attractive as an investment destination. The UK has a voice because it is in the EU."

Abe's comments follow endorsements for Britain's EU membership from the US, Australia and New Zealand. None of Britain's allies have publicly supported the UK leaving Europe.

Commenting, Sir David Warren, Chairman of the Japan Society and former British Ambassador to Japan, said:

“Japan is just the latest in a series of Britain’s friends and partners to make clear that Britain is stronger in Europe. 

“Investment from Japan in Britain is substantial, with more than 1,300 Japanese companies investing in the UK, supporting hundreds of thousands of British jobs. It’s now clear that leaving would put that at risk.

“The international consensus is overwhelming: Britain’s global influence is stronger in Europe. Our friends and allies, from Japan to the US and Australia, agree that leaving would be a leap into the dark that Britain cannot afford to take.”