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G7 Hiroshima Summit: What You'll Want to Know as the Leaders' Meetings Begin

Hours ahead of the G7 Summit's  kickoff on May 19, PM Fumio Kishida held bilateral meetings with Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak, and Giorgia Meloni. 



Prime Minister Kishida responds to reporters' questions at a media event in the city of Hiroshima. On the evening of the May 18. (Pool photo)

Leaders from each of the G7 countries and European Union, along with other invitees, are gathering in Hiroshima from May 19-21. 

A day earlier on May 18, as the city implemented strict security measures, United States President Joe Biden, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived at the Grand Prince Hotel in Hiroshima. Throughout the day, these respective leaders each held bilateral talks with host Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Below, we highlight some of the key points of May 18. Then we look forward to what is to come on the first day of the summit. 

US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Kishida shake hands on the afternoon of May 18 in Hiroshima. (AP via Kyodo)

Keyword: United States 

Of the three bilateral meetings, the most highly anticipated one on the Japanese side was that with the United States. Japan are in an alliance that is "stronger than ever," as described by President Biden. And it is "the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region," in the words of PM Kishida. 

In a meeting lasting over an hour, the two leaders discussed several areas of cooperation between the two countries. 

JAPAN Forward was interested to find that, in his opening remarks, Kishida mentioned the Global Startup Campus in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Startups have been a key point in the prime minister's economic policy.

President Biden, for his part, reiterated the US commitment to Japan's defense. Bilaterally, the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security also applies the context of nuclear threats, he assured.

Both leaders agreed to cooperate closely in addressing many regional challenges, including shared challenges regarding China.


Regarding the Korean Peninsula, the two leaders agreed on working together with South Korea toward the denuclearization of North Korea. President Biden also reaffirmed his full support for resolving the North Korean abductions issue. 

The two leaders further agreed on other areas of cooperation. Among them, continuing support for Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), and expanding collaboration in fields such as semiconductors and Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

British Prime Minister Sunak shows off a sock with the logo of the Hiroshima Carps professional baseball team. He and Mr Kishida are meeting on May 18 in Hiroshima ahead of the G7 Summit. (Pool photo)

United Kingdom: Global Partnership in Hiroshima Accord

It was a productive working dinner between leaders of Japan and the United Kingdom, as Kishida and Rishi Sunak announced the signing of The Hiroshima Accord. They defined it as an "Enhanced Japan-UK Global Strategic Partnership." 

In a fun moment at a Japanese restaurant chosen for the meeting, Sunak proudly showed off his socks supporting the Hiroshima Carps. They are the local professional baseball team, and Kishida is known to be a keen fan. 

The new accord shows a will to strengthen collaboration between the two countries. It calls on China specifically to "act responsibly" while emphasizing that the two countries "share serious concerns over the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea." 

Japan's United Kingdom counterparts defined the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific as "inseparable" in their new strategic agreement. They further expressed the view of strengthening "our shared security capabilities to help safeguard global peace and stability." 

Economically, the UK reiterated its resolve to "champion a free, fair, and resilient rules-based international economic order. That includes through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The CPTPP is particularly significant as it covers eleven countries and an estimated more than 10% of the world's GDP. 

Other areas of cooperation that were mentioned include a buzzword for this G7 summit, "semiconductor." They also highlighted the deployment of renewable energy

Italian Prime Minister Meloni and Prime Minister Kishida talk before the start of the G7 Hiroshima Summit. On May 18 in Hiroshima. (© Sankei by Kotaro Hikono)

Italy: The One Belt One Road Question Mark

In his first meeting of the day, Prime Minister Kishida welcomed his Italian counterpart, PM Meloni. The two held bilateral talks for just over an hour. 

Agreeing to cooperate in areas as diverse as film and economic exchanges, the two leaders also tackled other common issues. 


One elephant in the room was China. Italy signed an accord in 2019 to become part of Beijing's Belt and Road initiative. It is the only G7 country to have done so. According to several media reports, the Meloni administration disclosed that it is considering pulling out of the agreement. 

However, little was disclosed on this front following Kishida and Meloni's talks. Their statement reads that the "two leaders exchanged views on the situation in East Asia, and affirmed to continue to coordinate closely in addressing issues related to China." 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Screenshot of speech before Japanese Diet).

Looking Ahead to Day One of the Summit: Buzzword Ukraine

May 19 will be a key day for leaders at the G7 Summit. The session in the afternoon will be on the issue of the hour: the war in Ukraine. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's participation is highly anticipated at the event. A source in the Kishida administration told JAPAN Forward that this item on the agenda is expected to be the key issue of the day. 

A second feature that many are waiting for, especially the city's citizens, is the leaders' visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

A "world without nuclear weapons" has been a key theme in the Kishida agenda. Hiroshima is the first city in the world to have suffered the devastation of an atomic bombing. Therefore, this is also an issue which is very close to the hearts of many residents. 

In the several interviews, JAPAN Forward has conducted in the city over the past few months, a common theme emerged. First, said residents, they want people to visit the memorial park and the museum. Only then can the visitors understand. 

In the morning, PM Kishida is also scheduled to have bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Author: Arielle Busetto