japan G7.jpg
Photograph: EPA/TOMOHIRO OHSUMI/POOL

The health of the world economy will top the agenda at this year’s meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations, host nation Japan said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to call for coordinated fiscal stimulus to reboot the world economy at the summit in the coastal city of Shima, which starts Thursday.

But he may struggle to find consensus as German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected that idea when she held talks with Abe in Germany earlier this month.

“I think the biggest theme will be how the G7 countries will respond to the current situation of the global economy," Abe told reporters in Tokyo.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed support for Abe’s call for aggressive government spending to boost growth, Jiji Press reported.

He said he expects spending to continue to be a major focus of the G7, saying Italy, which will chair the group next year, "is strongly in favour of putting more stimulus in the system,” according to the report.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said other topics will include terrorism, North Korea, climate change, medical care and overseas development.

An international anti-poverty organization urged commitments to stronger funding that helps those living in extreme poverty.

“G7 leaders have a responsibility to ensure that global economic instability does not force hundreds of millions more people into extreme poverty,” ONE said in a statement.

The summit is the first to be held in Asia for eight years.

“So, the leaders will also discuss situations in the Asia-Pacific region in a candid way,” Suga said.

The G7 leaders are expected to express opposition to island construction and militarization of outposts in the South China Sea, without explicitly naming China, Kyodo reported, citing unnamed negotiation sources.

China has been reclaiming land on islands and reefs in the sea in recent years, and reportedly made several military deployments to the region.

Beijing's actions prompted G7 foreign ministers in April to oppose "any coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions" in the sea.

Apart from China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims to the South China Sea.

 

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