Land of the rising sun compared with the land of the setting sun…

How interesting that not only India but now Japan wants easier visa access as a condition of any new trade deal.

I am referring to this FT article (intermittent paywall) for the story (as well as a comment for suggesting the headline).

So the ‘hostile environment’ seems to be equally counterproductive towards nations whose lower echelons rarely, if at all, seek to come to UK shores (indeed why should they?) We already have reports of doctors refused visas even although they have been granted jobs.

In the same article, the FT reports that a senior executive at one of Japan’s largest trading houses said that,

“Even now the situation is becoming more difficult for us getting Japanese staff into the UK and our fear is that it will not become easier during the transition period,” “The Japanese companies in the UK are experiencing a huge issue around people. Japanese expats are not getting in and the companies are tearing their hair out,” said Pernille Rudlin, the head of Japan Intercultural Consulting, a training and consulting firm based in the UK. “Japanese companies want to bring in highly skilled people — design engineers and other positions that they not only need in the UK but need to have moving around the EU,” she added, referring to recent figures that showed Britain turned down more than 6,000 so-called tier 2 skilled workers visa applications between December 2017 and March 2018.

So the UK may be 65 million people but clearly in trade deals 600 million – or bigger –  is indeed better. Still there are suggestions that the UK would get a better deal on cheaper rice if we didn’t have to take account of Italy’s – and thus the EU’s – important rice production so would that be a valid equivalence for better Japanese visas? And we now see that, as the same article reports,

Japanese industry is postponing decisions about UK investment until there is more clarity about the future relationship with the EU.

It doesn’t seem hopeful. And although Professor Richard Werner thinks that inward investment is in effect an illusory gain, I fear that, as he’s looking at Spain, a country that can feed itself, he ignores the problems of a country that cannot – which is the UK, where about 40% of our nourishment comes from the EU.

So the Brexiteers will doubtless be encouraging you to please eat up your Japanese rice.

Because in a small market there might be not much else…


  1. Sean Danaher -

    My son goes to one of the best schools in Newcastle which attracts many foreigners – and seems particularly good in accepting children who will be only here for a few years. It think this is great for my son but I often get to meet parents from for example Japan, France and the US.

    The Japanese all seem to be very highly skilled and are doing top jobs in Nissan Sunderland. I can’t see that it makes any sense at all to make visas more difficult. Despite Brexit assurances I think the Sunderland plant is vulnerable.

    I think turning highly skilled people away from the UK because of some arbitrary target is madness, particularly as EU citizens seem to be voting with their feet and leaving.

    FDI is an interesting one. I think there is a massive difference between say the Sunderland plant, which brings in real jobs (though their tax arrangement with Switzerland is a negative) and rent extraction FDI such as Warren Buffet buying up Northern Power Grid. One of their engineers is a member of our sailing club and says Buffet’s investment has produced absolutely no value added and his only interest is siphoning off c £400M PA.

    The Brexiteers crowed about record year for FDI on 2016, for example the buying of ARM by the Japanese. I can’t help but think this is exactly the wrong sort of FDI, as is the buying of housing stock for rent. FDI as vulture capitalism and rent extraction.

    It has since fallen off a cliff apparently.

    1. Peter May -

      Quite. Similar to British Rail (as was) which is forbidden to run UK trains but every other nationalised rail service can. And Buffet rent extraction is no surprise regrettably.
      I come increasingly to the view that Labour has to ignore it’s heartlands and go for the younger generation everywhere, who are being sold down the river…

  2. Andy Crow -

    “…Labour has to ignore it’s heartlands …”

    So, business as usual in the Labour party.

    1. Peter May -

      Perhaps I should have said its traditional heartlands, where many/most of their voters are ageing. Their new heartlands are more youthful now and many of the offspring of the traditional heartlands will have moved elsewhere.

Comments are closed.