Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations met in Tokyo on November 7-8. It was the first time the group had met face-to-face since the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas launched its October 7 surprise attack on Israel.
Hamas fighters have since holed up in Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israeli counterattack there continues to exact a heavy toll of civilian casualties. And nearly all the hostages taken by Hamas have not yet been released.
This thorny situation in the Middle East is but one problem facing the world. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the situation in the Indo-Pacific, where China has not altered its hegemonic behavior, also continue. These were the main topics of discussion at the foreign ministers' meeting.
G7 Takes a Position
The G7 has adopted a unified stance regarding these "three-front" issues. However, the road ahead will not be easy. Nevertheless, all G7 countries need to demonstrate solidarity through their actions.
At the meeting, the G7 ministers unequivocally condemned Hamas terror attacks and called for the immediate release of hostages. The foreign ministers also called for humanitarian pauses in the fighting and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to help civilians in the Gaza Strip. They stressed the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law. Moreover, they also expressed support for a "two-state solution" in which Israel and Palestine would coexist.
The avowed goal of Hamas has long been the destruction of Israel. If the military capabilities of Hamas are not destroyed, it will likely attack Israel again. Israel's counterattack is an act of self-defense, but if collateral damage to civilians is not minimized, criticism from the international community will only increase.
The G7 must work to improve the humanitarian situation. We also want to prevent the conflict from escalating into a war in which Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian militia group based in Lebanon, as well as Iran itself, become embroiled.
Continuing Aggression in Ukraine and Asia
Regarding China, the foreign ministers confirmed that the G7 countries would express their concerns directly to Beijing. Meanwhile, they expressed their willingness to work together on global issues. They also emphasized the importance of "peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
The senior diplomats condemned North Korea for its nuclear and missile development and export of arms and ammunition to Russia. They also demanded an immediate resolution of the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens.
The Middle East and Ukraine crises are linked to the situation in the Indo-Pacific. If a despotic state or terrorist group gains the upper hand in either case, US military forces and support would likely be deployed to those regions for an extended period of time. Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region could decline and peace could be threatened.
For the sake of its own peace and prosperity, it is vital that Japan act as a member of the G7.
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(Read the editorial in Japanese.)