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A Strong G7 Message of Unity in an Unsettled World as Japan Passes On the Presidency Baton

Japan’s G7 presidency brought many voices to the table while highlighting the value of the free and open international order based on the rule of law as well as engagement with international partners beyond the G7.



World leaders stand for a photo in Peace Memorial Park during the G7 Hiroshima summit. (© Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)

The year 2023 will be remembered as one of increasing volatility in a world that needed steady diplomacy. The international community is facing many challenges, epitomized by Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine. At such a historic turning point, the group of seven (G7) members' balanced and inclusive response stood out.

Under the Japanese presidency, the G7 demonstrated its unity through discussions from the two perspectives: 

  1. Upholding the free and open international order based on the rule of law, and 
  2. Strengthening engagement with international partners beyond the G7.

Challenged to provide a firm hand, it achieved several firsts that fittingly came together at the G7 Hiroshima Summit, toward an international community characterized by cooperation, not division and confrontation.

Reflecting on Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio's presidency in 2023 will also help guide Italy, which leads the G7 in 2024. Moreover, it will influence the role Japanese diplomacy continues to play going forward.

Japan's Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio addresses the G7 Hiroshima Summit in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Peace Memorial Park. (©Sankei by Yukuto Hagihara)

A Historic Summit in Hiroshima

Held from May 19-21, the G7 Hiroshima Summit was a rare example of a symbolic location chosen to emphasize the biggest global issues of the time. The skeletal remains of the Genbaku Dome ("genbaku" means atomic bomb in Japanese) serve as a permanent reminder of the importance of peace as dignitaries congregated from all over the world.

One major agenda item at the Summit was Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also joined as a guest.

Leaders of the G7, invited countries and international organizations, and Ukraine visited the museum in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. They saw the reality of the atomic bombing and reflected on the importance of peace.

Japan's PM Kishida chairs the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May 2023. (© Sankei)

With Concrete Results

Leaders of the G7 held candid discussions on nuclear weapons, resulting in the first-ever stand-alone G7 leaders' statement in this regard, the "Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament." This has contributed to global momentum for "a world without nuclear weapons."

The G7 leaders reaffirmed that they continue strong support for Ukraine in every aspect and severe sanctions against Russia. After the discussion, the "G7 Leaders' Statement on Ukraine" was released. The G7 leaders also held another session with President Zelenskyy to discuss the situation surrounding Ukraine. Together, the leaders resolved firmly to restore peace in Ukraine and uphold the free and open international order based on the rule of law.

Regarding the Indo-Pacific, the G7 leaders exchanged views. They confirmed their close working relationship on various issues related to China and those related to North Korea, including the nuclear and missile development and the abduction issue. Also, in the G7 Hiroshima Leaders' Communiqué, they underscored their commitment to strengthen coordination with regional partners, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member states, while reaffirming their partnership with Pacific Island countries and reiterate the importance of supporting their priorities and needs in accordance with the Pacific Islands Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.


A major outcome was Leaders' Statement on Economic Resilience and Economic Security, first-ever stand-alone G7 leaders' statement in this regard. It, responds to the highlighted vulnerabilities in economies around the world to natural disasters, pandemics, geopolitical tensions and coercion. The G7 leaders committed to enhancing resilience of supply chain and critical infrastructure, strengthening our response to non-market policy and practice and economic coercion, particularly through enhancing collaboration by launching the Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion, and appropriately managing critical and emerging technologies.

Likewise, the G7 leaders also announced the "Clean Energy Economic Action Plan."  This plan focuses on supply chain resilience for critical minerals, which is necessary for clean energy transition and renewable energy devices.

In another first, the G7 leaders tasked relevant ministers to establish the Hiroshima AI Process. Agreed in December 2023, the Japan-led initiative was the historic international framework that comprehensively sets out the rules to be followed by the relevant actors to address the impact of advanced AI systems. 

Global health was also an important aspect. Prime Minister Kishida pointed out that "soft governance" enhances loose coordination among existing organizations. At the same time, leader-level governance and international norm-setting build and strengthen the Global Health Architecture (GHA). He also explained about the launch of the MCM Delivery Partnership for equitable access (MCDP) based on the principles set out in the "G7 Hiroshima Vision for Equitable Access to Medical Countermeasures." After the discussion, G7 leaders, participating countries, and organizations confirmed their support for efforts to achieve universal health coverage (UHC).

G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy engage in discussion at the G7 Hiroshima Summit. (© Pool Photo via Sankei)

Pathway to Inclusiveness

A key to the summit's success also came from the participation of partners. Eight countries and seven international institutions participated.

[Note] 8 countries and 7 organizations are Australia, Brazil, Comoros (African Union Chair), Cook Island (Pacific Forum Chair), India (G20 Presidency), Indonesia (ASEAN Chair), Republic of Korea, Vietnam, United Nations, International Energy Agency (IEA), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), and World Trade Organization (WTO).

Underscoring the rising importance of the Indo-Pacific, bilateral and multilateral meetings were held on the sidelines of the summit, including the Quad Leaders' Meeting (Japan, Australia, India, and the United States).

From a broad spectrum of perspectives, leaders at the G7 Hiroshima Summit sought to expand global prosperity beyond the G7 itself. ONO Keiichi, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Japanese G7/G20 sherpa explained in an article that the focus was on "a tailor-made approach to fit as many countries as possible."

Concrete achievements included "the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security" issued by leaders of the G7 and invited countries. This consolidated a new push to aid developing countries in responding to immediate food crisis and establish resilient food security.


Getting ahead of the global policy push on energy and technology, in Hiroshima the leaders of the G7 and invited partners also reaffirmed that they would holistically address energy security, climate crisis, and geopolitical risks. They agreed to aim for the common goal of net zero, acknowledging various pathways according to each country's circumstances. At the same time, with representatives of the Global South present, they affirmed the importance of mobilizing climate finance and support for climate-vulnerable countries and groups.

Their discussion included how to address multiple challenges. Development cooperation, global health, and gender issues including "Women, Peace and Security (WPS)" were on this agenda.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joined other guests in the G7 discussions. (© Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Broadening Unity Going Forward

As the international community faced multiple crises and divisions, PM Kishida took his message on the importance of working towards an international community characterized by cooperation, not division and confrontation at different multilateral fora. 

He took the outcomes of the G7 Hiroshima Summit to the G20 Summit in New Delhi. In his remarks in India, PM Kishida stressed that as the international communities faces multiple crises, cooperation at the G20 is increasingly important. He also underlined that, in Hiroshima, the leaders of the G7 and invited countries shared the recognition of significance of the free and open international order based on the rule of law as well as the principles of the Charter of the United Nations such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Continuing the discussion on November 8, KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, hosted the "Ukraine" session at the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting. At the outset of the session, Minister Kamikawa stated that even as tensions increase in the Middle East, it is important for the G7 to be united in sending a clear message to the international community that our steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine will never waver. 

On December 6, the G7 Leaders' video conference was held under the chairmanship of PM Kishida. This meeting was held as a wrap-up of the G7 Japanese presidency. The G7 Leaders had a discussion on important issues including the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East. President Zelenskyy also participated at the opening of this meeting.

On January 1, 2024, Italy took over the G7 presidency. The next G7 summit is set to take place in Apulia, Southern Italy, on June 13-15, 2024.

During Italy's President of the Council of Ministers Giorgia Meloni’s visit to Japan on February 5, she praised Japan's leadership of the G7 Presidency in 2023. She stated that as Italy takes up the role in 2024, she would like to continue to engage, building on the achievements of Japan's G7 presidency. 

Japan's approach in 2023 brought different voices to the table in a strong push for diplomacy. Its presidency has come to an end. Nevertheless, it leaves a framework for broad cooperation going forward through G7 unity and strengthened engagement with other global partners. 


This article is published in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.


G7 Summit: Japan Intends to Show Strong Leadership on Nuclear Issues, China and the Global South

Author: JAPAN Forward

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