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G7 Summit

post date : 2015.06.19

Vol. 5 June 19, 2015


Asahi: “Climate change measures: G7 must make responsible targets”

Sankei: “Major significance in the unified response to China”

Nikkei: “Unity of the G7 in tackling challenges”

Mainichi: “Unity in response to China and Russia”

Yomiuri: “G-7 must buttress unity to ensure stabilization of Ukraine situation”


The Group of Seven (G7) nations concluded their summit meeting in Schloss Elmau, Germany, on June 7 and 8 by issuing a declaration by G7 leaders. In the declaration, leaders mentioned their commitment to “the values of freedom and democracy...and to the rule of law”,” and that they “stand united in [their] commitment to uphold freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”


One of the focal points of the summit was to what extent the nations would work together in responding to China’s intensified maritime expansion and Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March last year.  Although the statement did not name China explicitly, the G7 nations expressed their concern about “tensions in the East and South China Seas” and warned against “any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo, such as large scale land reclamation.”


In the declaration, the G7 leaders condemned Russia’s  annexation of the Crimean Peninsula as “illegal” and called on all sides to “fully respect and implement” the Minsk Agreements (ceasefire) signed in February and withdraw heavy weapons. They also confirmed their common understanding on climate change, free trade negotiations and many other challenges.


The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Mainichi Shimbun and The Sankei Shimbun took up the results of the summit in their editorials on June 9, while The Asahi Shimbun and The Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) wrote about it on June 10. The Yomiuri, The Mainichi and The Sankei mainly discussed the response to Russia and China. The Asahi, on the other hand, took up measures on climate change agreed on at the summit. Nikkei discussed a variety of issues including free-trade negotiations.


Criticism against China, Russia


The Yomiuri, The Mainichi and The Sankei all welcomed the declaration with The Sankei saying, “It was of a major significance that not only the neighboring countries of Japan, the United States and Australia, but also the entire G7—with its European member nations—expressed concern about China’s maritime expansion.”


The Nikkei gave some credit to the declaration by saying, “Japan, the United States and European nations managed for the time being to show their commitment to tackling global issues together.” The paper, however, also added the following stinging statement: “No matter how well-intentioned it might be, the declaration will be no use in solving issues if it is not accompanied by actions. The ball is in the G7’s court to demonstrate its unity [in tackling challenges] from now on.”


The four dailies, except The Asahi, underscored differences in attitude among the G7 nations toward China and Russia, with The Mainichi saying: “While Japan and the United States place a heavy emphasis on the security threat posed by China, the European nations put more importance on economic relations with China. The United States, which takes a stern stance against Russia, is nervous about Japan’s stance to pursue dialogue with that nation.” 


The newspapers then indicated challenges the G7 immediately faces.


The Nikkei said “One of the reasons btoh China and Russia are maintaining aggressive stances is because they don’t believe there is particularly strong cooperation between Japan, the US and Europe...Hopefully, Japan and the United States will closely cooperate with European states. Then, it is essential for these nations to take joint steps and press China to exercise self-restraint.”


Regarding the split between the US/Japan and European nations over joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), The Sankei said it was necessary “to keep making diplomatic efforts to make European nations fully understand the dangerous moves taken by China and to draw them closer to the position of Japan and the United States.”


The Yomiuri discussed mainly the Ukrainian issue and underlined the importance of G-7 unity. “There are differences among the G-7 nations in their stances on dealing with the Ukrainian situation, with Japan and European nations attaching importance to dialogue and the United States giving priority to applying pressure,” the paper said. “This make it all the more necessary for the G-7 to coordinate policy.”


The Yomiuri also touched on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s move to explore the possibility of a visit to Japan by Russian President Vladimir Putin by the end of this year—an effort geared to find a way to solve the territorial dispute over the Russian-occupied northern territories, off Hokkaido. “We urge the prime minister to use caution in pursuing the difficult goal of advancing Japan-Russia relations without causing disarray within the G-7 on its stance toward the Ukrainian conflict.”


The Mainichi, after mentioning that China does not share the same shared values that form the basis of the G7 and that Russia’s forceful annexation of Crimea led to its suspension from the G8, stressed the importance of strengthening dialogue with China and Russia, saying “We should be always reminded of the need to make efforts for dialogue, in addition to applying pressures on China and Russia if we want to maintain a stable international order.”


Climate change measures, free trade talks


The Asahi focused on global warming issues. “The G7 nations—as advanced nations that used fossil fuels as they pleased and emitted vast amounts of carbon dioxides on their way to economic development—showed a minimum level of responsible attitude.” The paper’s comment was directed at a long-term goal agreed on at the G7 summit to slash greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 40-70 percent from 2010 levels by 2050.


The Asahi, however, pointed out that developing nations—such as the world’s largest and third largest greenhouse gas emitters, China and India, respectively—hold the key to attaining the emission cut goal. The challenge now is to persuade “developing nations that thus far held developed nations responsible for [global warming] into getting involved” in the drive to cut emissions.


The Asahi also discussed Japan’s role in G7 efforts to slash emissions. “As long as the G7 is trying to take leadership in climate change measures, Japan inevitably must take the frontline,” the paper said. “No time can be wasted” for Japan to make contributions to attain “a low-carbon global economy” with decreased use of energy and fossil fuels, The Asahi said when concluding its editorial.


The Nikkei referred to the G7 agreements over free trade negotiations, in which the G7 leaders said they would make every effort to finalize negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) accord as well as to reach agreements in principle on the Japan-EU economic partnership deal preferably by the end of the year.


“If these movements gather momentum, they will push the United States and EU toward sealing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP),” The Nikkei said. “To this end, too, the U.S. Congress should approve a bill as soon as possible to grant the president Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which is indispensable for concluding the TPP talks.”


The Sankei also mentioned the G7 agreements on the trade talks and said, “We should never forget that efforts to make new rules by the three poles of Japan, the United States and European states means that we are keeping China in check.”


*English translations of The Yomiuri are from The Japan News. Those for The Sankei, The Mainichi, The Asahi, and The Nikkei are provisional. The content of this page was made by the Foreign Press Center/Japan and does not reflect the opinion of the Japanese Government or any other organization.

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