Kishida to Reaffirm Values amid Shaken World Order

The Japan News
Flowers spelling out “G7 Hiroshima” are seen in front of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima on April 27.

The Group of Seven Hiroshima Summit will be held from Friday to Sunday in Hiroshima. Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine, China’s increasing hegemonic actions in the East and South China Seas, and efforts to realize a “world without nuclear weapons” will be on the summit’s main agenda. With the international order being shaken, the leadership of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will chair the summit, will be tested.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The summit, which will be held at the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima, will be attended by the leaders of the G7 countries as well as the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. Eight more leaders, from India, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil, Comoros and the Cook Islands, are also scheduled to participate in expanded sessions, together with representatives of seven international organizations, such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.

The Japan News
Summit venue, the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima

At the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting, which was held in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, on April 16-18, the ministers agreed to maintain sanctions against Russia and “uphold and reinforce the free and open international order based on the rule of law.” In a joint statement, they urged Russia to withdraw all forces from Ukraine immediately and unconditionally. The ministers also expressed their strong opposition to China about “any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.”

At the G7 summit, the leaders are expected to reaffirm such views agreed upon at the foreign ministers’ meeting. The focus will be on how to spread these values to countries other than the G7 countries.

Japan has focused on strengthening ties with emerging and developing countries, referred to as the Global South. Many emerging and developing countries are suffering from food and energy crises due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In order to share the challenges faced by the Global South as well as to promote universal values, Japan has invited the leaders of six Global South countries.

“Japan has been called on to uphold the rule of law by building a bridge between the G7 nations and the Global South countries,” Kishida said at a press conference on May 4.

Nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation are also important themes for Kishida, who has declared “a world without nuclear weapons” to be his lifework. Hiroshima was chosen as the location for the summit because it was the site of an atomic bombing in 1945. The venue is all the more significant given that Russia has continued its aggression in Ukraine and has threatened to use nuclear weapons.

“There is no other suitable place than Hiroshima to demonstrate our commitment to peace,” the prime minister said.

Russia has announced plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. With China and North Korea also building up their nuclear capabilities, the momentum for nuclear disarmament is receding in the international community. Kishida hopes that the leaders of the G7 countries, which include the nuclear powers of the United States, Britain and France, will send a strong message to the world and create momentum to promote nuclear disarmament in a realistic manner.

Other issues expected to be discussed at the summit include measures to respond to generative AI technologies such as ChatGPT, an issue that was addressed at the G7 Digital and Tech Ministers’ Meeting on April 29-30; a framework for providing prompt assistance to low-income countries in the event of a new pandemic, including funds to purchase vaccines; and measures to deal with climate change.