HC Deb 16 April 2002 vol 383 c456
11. David Wright (Telford)

If he will make a statement on UK-Japan bilateral relations. [45526]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Denis MacShane)

The bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and Japan is strong. On the global level, Japan is a key ally in our efforts to ensure global prosperity and security and to promote democracy and the rule of law worldwide. On the economic level, over 1,000 Japanese companies operate in this country, creating over 80,000 manufacturing jobs and many thousands of jobs in the service sector.

David Wright

My hon. Friend will be aware that Japanese investment in Telford has been significant in recent years. Indeed, the United Kingdom is a bridgehead for Japanese investment into Europe. Has my hon. Friend had any discussion with his counterparts in the Japanese Government about the Government's position on the euro?

Mr. MacShane

Telford is such a popular area for Japanese inward investment that. I am advised, people can get sake on tap there. My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to the euro issue, but Japanese inward investors continue to place their confidence in Britain. Some 46 per cent. of all investment in the European Union is in the United Kingdom and the sterling-euro exchange rate is only one of a number of factors, but if ever the Conservative party's total opposition to Europe and the euro were to be perceived as the British Government's position, that would have a disastrous impact on all inward investment into the United Kingdom.