Lead actors for the new Star Wars film and director JJ Abrams spoke about their time in Japan on 11 December, ahead of the international film release of The Force Awakens.

Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the new movie brings characters Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) back to their galaxy far, far away. Newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) lead a younger generation that grapples with the conflicts that haunted the past.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set for its international release in the UK on 19 December and in the US the following day, and many have tried to get tickets to the new movie. However, for Boyega, his time was spent in Japan shopping for robots instead.

He said: "I've only had a short amount of time to go out and really discover the city. Today I went to Akiba to just shop for some stuff and it was really cool. I bought things I would never use and never need but it still made me happy, things including a drone, a robot for no reason, and that's something I love. I'll definitely come back again so thank you for having me."

Director JJ Abrams pointed out that he originally got the name of one of the new planets from the Tokyo area he stayed in. "Ah there's a planet in this movie called Takodana and I named after the first time I came to Tokyo we stayed in a hostel in Takadanobaba. So it was a nod to my favourite city," he said. Takadanobaba is on western side of downtown Tokyo and is popular among tourists.

Ridley talked about how actors from the previous films came back to participate again. She said: "The combination of all of them and Anthony [Daniels, C3PO] and everyone, it's really incredible and to watch them all work, and the enthusiasm they came to, they came back to, doing Star Wars made everyone feel like this was really a good thing to do. It didn't feel like they were over it. They were all really excited to be back so to see that really incredible."