Panasonic, Sony, Nissan and now Honda: a recent exodus of Japanese firms from Britain is not solely down to Brexit, analysts say, but it has in many cases accelerated the decision to leave. On Tuesday, Honda was the latest Japanese firm to send shockwaves through British industry by announcing the end of its plant in Swindon, where around 3,500 workers have been producing the “Civic” for more than 24 years. Officials rushed to divert blame from Brexit, with local MP Justin Tomlinson saying the decision was down to “global trends” and pointing out that Honda was transferring all European production back to Japan. But while there are specific reasons behind each individual business decision, analysts said the spectre of Brexit was haunting Japanese firms across the board. “Honda seems to have been preparing for this for a long time. Then Brexit happened, which might have pushed the company to make the decision now,” said Seiji Sugiura, analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. Both Sugiura and Satoru Takada, an auto analyst at TIW research firm based in Tokyo, noted that Honda had been debating what to do with the Swindon plant for some time. “It has struggled in recent years. Then came Brexit,” said Takada. “The change in the business environment pushed the company to make the decision now,” he added. Honda’s decision came hot on the heels of Nissan axing production at its Sunderland plant in northeastern England. Published in Daily Times, February 20th 2019.