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Sun May 19 2019

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Welsh secretary flies to Tokyo on quest for Wylfa U-turn

19 Feb On the day that it was revealed that one Japanese industrial giant was leaving the UK, a cabinet minister was in Tokyo to try and persuade another to come back.

British ambassador to Japan Paul Madden, Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi, Welsh secretary Alun Cairns and Toshikazu Nishino of Hitachi
British ambassador to Japan Paul Madden, Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi, Welsh secretary Alun Cairns and Toshikazu Nishino of Hitachi

Secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns met representatives from Hitachi at its headquarters in Tokyo on Monday to discuss the future of the Wylfa nuclear power station site in Anglesey.

His visit was prompted by Hitachi decision last month to suspend plans to build the new Wylfa Newydd power station. The UK government had already offered Hitachi quite a package of sweeteners, but it was not enough to keep the Japanese on board. [See our previous report here.]

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Alun Cairns’ bid to keep Hitachi interested in investing in the UK came on the day that it was revealed that Japanese car manufacturer had decided to close its UK car plant in Swindon by 2021, with the loss of 3,000 jobs.

Following his meeting with Hitachi, Alun Cairns said: “I am grateful to Hitachi for the constructive meeting today to discuss options for their future plans in Wales. While I fully recognise their decision was a disappointment to people on Anglesey and across north Wales, the UK government remains committed to developing a broad-based, resilient economy. We believe that nuclear has an important role to play in the UK’s future energy mix as we transition to a low-carbon economy, but any future offer must represent good value for both the taxpayer and the consumer. I look forward to future discussions on Wylfa’s new nuclear future and will continue to push for greater investment and additional job creation across north Wales.”

MPU

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