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G7 leaders discuss pandemic, Tokyo Olympics  

The Saturday editions of all national dailies reported on a videoconference held by the G7 leaders on Friday night (Japan time) at which they agreed to cooperate in reconstructing the global economy by combating the coronavirus pandemic. In a joint statement released afterward, the participants voiced support for Japan’s determination to host the Tokyo Olympics in a safe and secure manner as a “symbol of global solidarity in overcoming COVID-19.” The GOJ is reportedly hoping that this endorsement by the G7 will help rebuild momentum for the Games among the Japanese public, with Prime Minister Suga telling the press afterward that the session was “very encouraging.” 

 

As President Biden expressed his commitment to taking a concerted approach with international partners in addressing such challenges as the pandemic and climate change by returning to the Paris accord and pledging to contribute to the COVAX Facility COVID-19 vaccine initiative, the papers said his first G7 meeting demonstrated Washington’s departure from the “America First” approach pursued by the Trump administration. Nikkei expressed the view that since the joint statement promised to make 2021 a “turning point for multilateralism,” the G7 members appear to be determined to repair the internal divisions caused by President Trump. The business daily also wrote that G7 unity will be tested on such issues as fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the creation of a carbon-free economy, and how to deal with a rising China. While the G7 leaders reportedly agreed to take a unified approach to engaging with China to realize a fair global economic system by addressing its unfair trade practices through mutual coordination, the paper added that some European nations are dependent on the Chinese economy.

 

Sankei wrote that although the main topics of the conference were the pandemic and the global economy, Suga ventured to bring up China’s maritime push in the South and East China Sea to remind other participants of the need to be watchful of Beijing’s disruptive behavior.    

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