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  1. ITV Report

Theresa May hits out at North Korea as Japan visit begins

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Theresa May has condemned North Korea's missile testing as "outrageous" and "illegal" as she arrived in Japan to embark on a round of trade and security talks amid high tension.

Mrs May took traditional Japanese tea in Kyoto at the start of a three-day visit as the international row over Pyongyang's provocative show of aggression brews.

After arriving in the country she called on China to play a "key role" and pressure North Korea after the latest launch saw a medium-range missile over a Japanese island.

The prime minister is bidding for an "ambitious" post-Brexit trade deal with Japanese premier Shinzo Abe.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen explains the key negotiating issues:

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  • How likely is a trade deal?
The Prime Minister will be meeting with Shinzo Abe. Credit: AP

Mrs May faces some difficulties as it is believed Japan prioritises finalising a trade deal between itself and the EU.

The prime minister wants the agreement between Japan and the EU to resemble the future one with the UK.

But Japanese businesses in Britain, of which there are around 1,000, are said to be "concerned" about Brexit.

The minister for public diplomacy at the Japanese embassy, Shinichi Iida, said it was "no secret" Tokyo wanted Britain to remain in the EU and said companies wanted "clarity" over the Brexit process.

  • How have the North Korea tensions affected the PM's trip?
Pyongyang fired a missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Credit: AP

Downing Street said Mrs May's travel plans hadn't changed despite Pyongyang's missile fire over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

After the traditional tea ceremony with Premier Abe in Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, she will head to Tokyo on a high-speed bullet train.

Mrs May will become the first European leader to attend a meeting of the Japanese National Security Council.

She will visit the headquarters of the Japanese maritime self defence force on Thursday where its flagship aircraft carrier IZUMO is based and will be briefed by UK and Japanese military personnel on board.