Brussels: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday a no-deal Brexit must be avoided “by all means” as Japanese companies have used Britain as the gateway to Europe.

Abe was in Brussels following a summit this month in which EU leaders gave Prime Minister Theresa May another six months to get Britain’s parliament to endorse the exit terms she struck last year.

“A no-deal Brexit is what we have to avoid by all means,” Abe told a press conference in Brussels with EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker standing at his side.

An orderly withdrawal, he said, is necessary because Japanese firms have invested so much in Britain as a European Union member country and they need “legal stability” as well as transparency ahead.

“We strongly hope that it will be possible for Japanese companies to continue” doing business in the UK, Abe said, speaking through an interpreter.

“For Japan, the UK is the gateway to Europe,” he said,recalling he has made the same point to Juncker and Tusk as well as May.

“So a smooth Brexit is what we hope for,” Abe said.