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Friday, January 9, 1998 Published at 11:17 GMT



UK

Blair takes British message to Japan
image: [ Tony Blair hopes to promote Britain as a safe bet ]
Tony Blair hopes to promote Britain as a safe bet

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has arrived in Japan at the start of a five-day visit aimed at encouraging investment in Britain.


BBC Correspondent, Robin Oakley, says Tony Blair hopes to reassure Japanese investment (1'45")
He will also represent the European Union in an EU-Japan summit, because of the UK's newly acquired role as president of the union.

At a press conference to mark his arrival, Mr Blair confirmed that the Japanese car giant, Toyota, is to invest in £150m expansion plan investment in Deeside in North Wales.

It comes after recent disappointment in the UK that it lost out on a new £400m car plant which the company decided to build in France.


[ image: The Prime Minister will attempt to convince the Japanese that Britain is committed to Europe]
The Prime Minister will attempt to convince the Japanese that Britain is committed to Europe
"It shows yet again the continuing confidence that people have in the British economy," he said. "[And] obviously we're delighted that there is such a commitment by Japanese business."

Mr Blair hopes to dispel any fears that the UK not being in the first wave of a single currency might mean it is not the best place to invest.

In a keynote economic speech to 350 Japanese politicians, investors and other opinion formers, Mr Blair will insist that "Britain is not just a safe bet with a Labour Government but a better bet".

But the trip -- during which Mr Blair is being accompanied by his wife, Cherie and a high-powered delegation of business people -- looks like being touched by inevitable controversy from 50 years ago.

He faces demands from home from former World War II Far East prisoners of war to press for a fuller apology from the Japanese Government than that issued on the 50th anniversary of VJ Day.


 





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