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Japan's NTT invests big in London amid Brexit uncertainty

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Japan's NTT invests big in London amid Brexit uncertainty
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While some companies may be fleeing or reducing their investments in the UK, amid the continuing uncertainty over Brexit, a Japanese telecoms giant is digging in deeper.

NTT Data recently showed off a brand-new, 39-million-euro innovation centre in London. And now a new global tech services company, NTT Ltd., has been launched in the capital.

“We’re not in a regulated environment, sort of like a pharmaceutical company or bank might be, we’re obviously a digital organisation rather than manufacturing or anything else," explained Jason Goodall, CEO of NTT Ltd., when challenged on why the new business has been set up in London during such uncertain times.

"From an operating model perspective, we’re not really impacted whichever way Brexit kind of goes.”

What about free trade pact?

Brexit could hurt companies profiting from a new EU-Japan free trade pact, which the UK is currently part of. It may leave Japan and Britain having to strike their own future deals.

“I believe the UK government’s people and the Japanese government people will have some agreement in terms of free trade," Jun Sawada, President and CEO of the NTT Corporation, told Euronews.

"We want to have a much closer partnership between both two countries especially for new industry.”

Amid all the Brexit turmoil, not all Japanese companies look to their futures in Britain with so much confidence - with Sony and Panasonic moving their European headquarters out.

The car-maker Honda says it will close its British plant in 2021 and Nissan has scrapped plans to produce one of its vehicle models in the UK.

'We need a clear path forward'

Boris Johnson – bidding to become the next prime minister – says he wants Britain out of the EU in October, with or without a deal.

“We want to see not a return to the old political inaction we’ve seen, over the next couple of years. We need a clear path forward on Brexit and we need that no-deal, disorderly Brexit taken off the table. Because what our research shows is that a disorderly exit from the EU will have a massive impact on both recruitment and investment for some time to come," said Suren Thiru, Head of Economics and Trade at the British Chambers of Commerce.

It all adds up to continuing uncertainty for business, three years after the Brexit referendum.