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May's charm offensive in Japan

British Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to signal the UK can remain a valuable trade partner even after it leaves the EU.

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May's charm offensive in Japan

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is on a three-day visit to Japan, intended to signal the UK can remain a valuable trade partner even after it leaves the EU.

Her first official trip there as comes at a tricky time, a day after North Korea’s missile launch over Japan, and just as Brussels ratchets up its criticism of Britain’s Brexit negotiators.

On her way there, May told reporters Britain is looking at ways to replicate the trade deals the EU has with other countries when it leaves the bloc in March 2019.

“We must focus on what our future relationship with the European Union is going to be, ensuring that we can get that trade deal right and also that we can form new trade deals around the rest of the world,” she said.

May joined her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, the ancient Japanese capital, and was due to have dinner with him.

She said she would ask him to push ahead with a wide-ranging EU-Japan trade deal, with the idea it could then be used as a model for a separate deal with the UK.

Her official meetings with Abe and other Japanese officials are scheduled for Thursday in Tokyo.