G7 countries need more structural reform, less austerity, Japan says

Leading advanced economies must pursue structural reforms and expansionary budget policies to stimulate global growth, according to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country will host the next Group of Seven (G7) summit this month.

Abe spoke Monday in Florence following talks with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, before travelling to Paris to meet with French President Francois Hollande.

"One expects from G7 countries an acceleration of structural reforms matched by flexible fiscal policies, so that the current [economic] juncture can be overcome and we can avoid new crises and stimulate the global economic recovery," Abe said in Italy.

Japan, Italy and France are part of the G7 nations, along with Britain, Canada, Germany and the United States.

Three issues will top the G7 summit agenda, Hollande said: economic growth, climate change and security.

"We need to show our confidence in the global economy and support international investment," he said, noting that structural reforms to improve competitiveness were needed.

In Italy, Renzi said he saw eye to eye with Abe on economic issues and was "counting a lot on Shinzo Abe's leadership for the success of the G7, particularly on issues related to economic growth."

Abe said terrorism and migration would be prominent topics at the May 26-27 summit in Ise-Shima. He said that he hoped leaders at the summit would be able to send a strong message on resolving migration problems and cooperating to confront violent extremism.

In Florence, the Japanese delegation was chaperoned around the 13th century Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti museums by Renzi, who was the city's mayor before he took up national office in 2014. Abe hailed Florence as "the cradle of Renaissance civilization."

Later, Hollande hosted a working dinner for Abe at the Elysee Palace in central Paris.

The French and Japanese leaders said they had discussed cultural cooperation in addition to the G7 summit agenda, saying their countries were committed to exchanging experiences from upcoming international sporting events.

France is due to host the European football championship this summer, while Japan is scheduled to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Last update: Mon, 02/05/2016 - 23:09
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