Akio Toyoda’s Britain

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The New York Sun

Well, well, this’ll put a spring in the step of Nigel Farage. The big Japanese business newspaper, the Financial Times of London, is out with an illuminating dispatch in respect of whether Britain should remain in the European Union. It reports that the chief executive of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, great-grandson of the company’s founder, is vowing to continue building cars at its plants in Britain, even if Britons vote for the Brexit.

Mr. Toyoda made his remarks in an interview with the FT. It took place at Toyota City, in the FT’s new home country of Japan. The paper’s reporters — Robin Harding, Kana Inagaki and Kunio Saijo — quote him as saying that his predecessors buried a time capsule at Toyota’s plant at the British city of Burnaston and that the company would be there to open it in 2090. “When the capsule is opened after 100 years,” he said, “all can see we’ve built a truly British company.”

The aforementioned Mr. Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, couldn’t have put it better. The FT characterizes Mr. Toyoda’s comments as a “boost for campaigners wanting a ‘Brexit,’” as a British exit from the European is known. It said the remarks would reassure the thousands who work at Toyota’s plant at Burnaston. It called the remarks “a blow to the campaigners for the UK to remain in the EU” — and “also to David Cameron,” the prime minister.

It turns out that Mr. Cameron, at a what the FT calls a private meeting in November in Downing Street, had tried to hornswoggle “non-British chief executives of some of the UK’s biggest companies” to back Mr. Cameron’s efforts to negotiate with the EU a deal that would allow Britain to remain in the socialist satrap run from Brussels. The FT reports that “pro-EU campaigners” have hoped that the big carmakers would support the campaign to remain in Europe.

How wonderful that Mr. Toyoda failed get the memo. Nor does he seem to be scared off by all the editorials in the FT warning against the Brexit. The FT issued the latest on the same day that it published Mr. Toyoda’s interview. The editorial warns of “trading false promises for a post-Brexit Britain.” It dismisses hopes that a sovereign Britain might gain a free trade agreement with Europe. It calls such agreements — and other “magic solutions” — a “political non-starter.”

The Financial Times also warns the Brexit camp that it will have to convince British voters, “the median specimen” of whom, it avers, is “almost certainly pragmatic and transactional “rather than principled” and, it adds, “political.” The current generation of editors of the FT must wonder how Winston Churchill managed to lead this lot. For our part, in any event, we think of the Britain as one of the headquarters of liberty and as an island of principle.

Which is why we’ve been banging on about the possibilities of the Brexit and of Britain focusing its future on expanding its special relationship with America and other freedom-loving, sovereign democracies. And why not Japan, too? Let’s hope that the acquisition last year of the FT by Japan’s great business news empire, the Nikkei, presages an infusion of fresh thinking, such as Akio Toyoda offered in the news columns of the FT today.

The New York Sun

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