Small villages seek to convey significance at ‘g7’ summit in western Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shinjo Village Mayor Hirotoshi Ogura, center, gives an address at the opening ceremony of the g7 summit in Shinjo, Okayama Prefecture.

SHINJO, Okayama — A group of villages with small populations began a summit on Friday in Shinjo, Okayama Prefecture, to discuss local revitalization measures with the aim of conveying their significance.

About 70 people participated in the meeting, including the heads of seven villages. It was to conclude on Sunday.

The “g7” was launched in 2016 in a bid to address challenges facing small villages, including population decline, and to exchange information to enhance their value.

The summit is called the “g7” — with a lowercase “g” — to reflect their small size in comparison to the G7 summit of advanced economies.

This year’s theme is “training personnel who will play an active role in the future of the village.”

The g7 members are villages with the smallest populations in each of the seven blocs in Japan, except for islands. They are Shinjo; Otoineppu, Hokkaido; Hinoemata, Fukushima Prefecture; Tabayama, Yamanashi Prefecture; Kitayama, Wakayama Prefecture; Okawa, Kochi Prefecture; and Itsuki, Kumamoto Prefecture.

“In this age of local governments, small villages should come together to convey the significance of the g7,” Shinjo Village Mayor Hirotoshi Ogura said at the opening ceremony at a local community hall on Friday, the first day of the three-day summit.

A joint declaration was issued Saturday, and the participants split into three groups to visit historical, scenic and other spots in the village on Sunday.

“We’d like to ask the national government to address the issues raised by each village at the summit,” Ogura said.