LONDON (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country and "the whole world" want Britain to avoid leaving the European Union without a deal to ensure trade continues smoothly.

While in London on Thursday after meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Abe supported the divorce deal May's government reached with the EU.

He said: "We truly hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided. In fact, that is the wish of the whole world."

Warning of the economic impact of Britain departing on March 29 without a deal, Abe said Japan considers Britain "the gateway to the European market" and Japanese firms employ more than 150,000 people in the U.K..

British lawmakers are due to vote Tuesday on May's deal. All signs suggest they will reject it, adding uncertainty to Brexit.

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