Well, this was obviously going to happen*
*I don’t know how obvious it was from the internal UK viewpoint (which generally seems to have no sodding clue how the global economy works) but it was obvious from here.
Japanese companies put their EU bases in the UK because it was a gateway to the EU which had advantages for them in terms of language and familiarity. Also because they thought the UK was a nice stable reliable traditional country.
I have not met a single Japanese person who doesn’t think Brexit is an incomprehensible act of insanity… and being very pragmatic, they don’t tend to separate personal and business views, so if they think that personally then that’s what they think in business too.
The Japan-EU trade deal is also a big factor, but the UK would have some say/part/benefit from that if it wasn’t for Brexit, and the UK’s other main benefits of language and proximity might be enough in some cases with no Brexit spectre hanging in the background.
But for Japanese companies in particular, the damage has been done… they don’t think the UK is a stable/reliable country… and they value that a lot.
Having lived and worked in Swindon, this is likely to screw the town pretty bad. They aren’t the only big employer around the town (I think they still have Microsoft, etc…) but the plant was bloody huge and there were a lot of support companies and just places that relied on the staff for business.
There’s a certain really nice sushi restaurant in the middle of the UK countryside that’s suddenly going to find itself very short on customers…
The problem is, a lot of the big companies with their EU headquarters around swindon/reading are international, and they might well make similar decisions in the future… which would cause big problems.