Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that the “whole world” hopes that the UK will avoid a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking alongside Theresa May at a Downing Street press conference on Thursday, Mr Abe said his country was in "total support" of the PM's EU Withdrawal Agreement.
"The world is watching the UK as it exits the European Union," said Mr Abe.
"I would like to extend my deepest respect for the strong will and hard work by Theresa for the parliamentary approval of the Withdrawal Agreement.
"Japan and the UK have been building a very strong partnership, not only in the political arena but also the economic area. For Japan, the UK is the gateway to the European market, Japanese businesses have created 1,000 bases in the UK offering more than 150,000 jobs.
"It is the strong will of Japan to further develop this strong partnership with the UK, to invest more into your country and to enjoy further economic growth with the UK.
"That is why we truly hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided, and in fact that is the whole wish of the whole world.
"Japan is in total support of the draft Withdrawal Agreement worked out between the EU and Prime Minister May which provides for transition to ensure legal stability for businesses that have invested into this country."
'The only deal'
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects a military Guard of Honour provided by Welsh Guards at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday.
Mrs May reiterated her plea to MPs to back her agreement to avoid no deal.
She said: "The only way to avoid no deal is to have a deal and to agree a deal, and the deal that is on the table, the deal that is the deal that the EU has made clear is the only deal.
"There's an issue that's been raised about the backstop, and we are continuing to work with the EU on that particular issue, but there is a good deal on the table and for those who want to avoid no deal then backing the deal is the thing to do."
Mr Abe said post-Brexit, Japan intends to maintain a "very good relationship" with the UK and that he hoped "more investment will be done by Japanese businesses to the United Kingdom so that both nations can enjoy economic growth together".
"This draft agreement for transition and legal stability for Japanese businesses is very much welcomed and we truly hope that this is realised, but of course it is the people of the UK who will make the final decision but at any rate Japan and the UK will be further developing our bilateral economic ties," he added.