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Sat, 12/14/2019 - 04:52
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Japan Heartened by U.K. Conservatives' Huge Election Victory

Tokyo, Dec. 13 (Jiji Press)--Japanese government officials breathed sighs of relief to see a landslide victory of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party in Thursday's general election, with Britain's exit from the European Union without an agreement now likely to be avoided. In a message sent to Johnson on Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe congratulated the British leader on the election win and said he is happy to be able to continue working with Johnson. Britain now seems to be on course to realize a smooth exit from the EU, and Japan hopes to start working with Britain soon on building a new bilateral economic partnership, Abe added. In a speech in Tokyo on Friday, Abe said, "Now we have greater chances of predicting what course Britain will take in its withdrawal from the EU." There had been concerns in the Japanese government and business world that a "no-deal Brexit" could adversely affect Japanese firms operating in Britain as such a development could cause turmoil in customs procedures and logistics between Britain and EU member countries. But the Conservative Party's election win with a clear majority has made it likely that the Brexit plan that the current British government and the EU agreed in October can gain parliamentary approval in Britain. "The election result will calm down the situation at last. The worst scenario has been staved off," a Japanese government source said. "With the election outcome, Britain has shown a clear direction, so we can move forward on diplomatic work," a Foreign Ministry official said. Meanwhile, Britain has expressed interest in joining the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which includes Japan. "If Britain joins the TPP, Japan would welcome this from the heart," Abe said in the speech. END