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G-7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Hiroshima
Apr 14, 2016

The G-7 foreign ministers’ meeting was held on April 10-11 in Hiroshima, Japan. At the end of the two-day meeting, foreign ministers from Japan, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union adopted a communique, as well as the Hiroshima Declaration, which will aim for a nuclear weapons-free world, and a statement regarding maritime security.

  • On the first day of their meeting, the ministers discussed global concerns such as terrorism and refugee issues.

  • The G-7 foreign ministers denounced the indiscriminate killings by terrorists and agreed to lead global cooperation to fight violent and extremist attacks.

  • Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, said that G-7 nations should complement each other by utilizing their competitive edge in fighting terrorism and dealing with the refugee crisis, another big concern for European Union nations.

  • The G-7 foreign ministers also talked about the Middle East and regional security in Asia, including in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

  • The G-7 condemned the North Korea’s escalating provocations, including its nuclear test in January and the launch of a satellite-carrying long-range rocket in February, which many regarded as an ICBM test.

  • This was the first time G-7 meeting was held in Asia in eight years, and Japan is the only G-7 member from the region,

  • Without naming China, the statement on maritime security said that concerned countries should abide by international court rulings in dealing with territorial disputes.

  • In the coming month, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to issue a ruling over the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

The meeting and the statements will set the stage for the G-7 summit scheduled for May 26 and 27 in Ise-Shima, Mie Prefecture. A total of 11 related meetings will be held in Japan through September, including a gathering of G-7 finance ministers and central bank governors in Sendai immediately before the summit.

A key player not there is Russia. The eighth member of what used to be the G-8 has been excluded since last year because of its alleged support for separatist rebels in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied claims of support for the rebels.

Hiroshima Declaration

The G-7 foreign ministers meet concluded adopting of a joint communique, a Hiroshima Declaration and two other statements on maritime security and non-proliferation. The four statements reflect global concerns including terrorism, North Korea’s escalating provocations, maritime security in the South China Sea and the G-7 members’ commitment to work toward a world without nuclear weapons.

  • The adoption of the Hiroshima Declaration is especially symbolic for Hiroshima and Nagasaki at a time when global momentum for getting rid of the world’s nuclear arsenals is low, especially after the collapse of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference last year.

  • This is the first time for the G-7 countries to get together to unanimously adopt a statement on nuclear disarmament after the NPT Review Conference.

  • The Hiroshima Declaration said the G-7 countries share the deep desire of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that nuclear weapons never be used again.

  • The statement emphasizes the importance of the NPT, called for a ban on nuclear test explosions, and demands that all states to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty.

The G-7 foreign ministers also offered floral tributes at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Going through this museum was a reminder of the indisputable truth that war must never be the first resort. It must be the last resort, the utter failure of all diplomacy.

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