SSU Forum/GraSPP Research Seminar “The Hiroshima G7 Summit: Significance, Security, and Japanese Leadership”
- Venue：SMBC Academia Hall, 4F International Academic Research Building, the University of Tokyo.
MAP (held in face-to-face)
- Host and Co-Host：
Security Studies Unit, Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI), the University of Tokyo
Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP), The University of Tokyo
English only (no simultaneous interpretation provided)
This event is part of the UTokyo-Cambridge Voices series of conversations held between researchers from the two universities regarding a specific aspect of their research.
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In this talk, Dr Tristen Naylor (University of Cambridge) will give his analysis of the 2023 G7 Summit in Hiroshima, having attended the summit the previous week. Dr Naylor will discuss the importance of Japanese leadership, at the summit in particular and in multilateral diplomacy more broadly, and examine the summit’s outcomes, with a particular focus on the war in Ukraine, geopolitical tensions with China, and economic security, both regionally and internationally. Dr Naylor will conclude with a discussion of the prospects for the G7’s future.
Moderator: Naosuke, Mukoyama Associate Professor, Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI), The University of Tokyo
*The forum is organized by subsidies from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
On May 26, the Security Studies Unit (SSU) of the Institute of Future Initiatives invited Dr. Tristen Naylor, Assistant Professor in History and Politics at the University of Cambridge, to give a presentation on the G7 Hiroshima Summit. Following Professor Naylor’s keynote speech, Professor Yee Kuang Heng (Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo) was originally scheduled to serve as the discussant, but as he was unable to join the seminar, his questions were read by the moderator and Associate Professor Ryo Sahashi (Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo) joined the panel as the discussant. Associate Professor Naosuke Mukoyama (Institute for Future Initiatives) moderated the seminar.
Professor Naylor began his presentation by asking whether the G7 still matters and whether the Hiroshima Summit matters. Answering those questions, he said that the G7 still has significance and that the Hiroshima Summit in particular was a historic event to be remembered as a pivotal moment even five or ten years from now. Professor Naylor first briefly reviewed the history of the G7 since its creation in 1975, explaining the breakdown of the member countries and the nature of the meeting.
The G7 countries’ share of the global economy has declined from nearly 70% in the 1970s to just over 40% today. Some say that the G20 is more important now or that the G7 summit is merely a ceremonial event. However, Professor Naylor argued that the importance of the G7 remains high because 40% is still a large proportion, and it constitutes a highly integrated and important economic bloc. In addition, its political importance has increased, and the G7 has taken on a new character and purpose. It now aims to defend the rules-based international order, the liberal economic system, and democratic values. The G7 showed very strong solidarity in its response to the recent invasion of Ukraine.
Professor Naylor then discussed the significance of the Hiroshima Summit, noting that the choice of Hiroshima as the site of the summit was important because it can deliver a message for peace, a warning against the use of nuclear weapons, and serve as a symbol of reconstruction after a war. It was also significant to invite India, the chair of this year’s G20, which has taken an ambiguous stance on Russia’s aggression, to participate in the discussions on Ukraine. He also pointed out that the summit played an important role by sending a message to China and inviting countries from the Global South. In addition to this, the Hiroshima Summit represented a new phase in Japan’s international role. Professor Naylor concluded his remarks by saying that it was important that Japan sent a message to the international community that it will no longer limit itself to an economic role but will play a political and security role.
Discussion and Q&A
Following Professor Naylor’s presentation, Professor Mukoyama posed a few questions on behalf of Professor Heng. He first asked if there was any previous summit that was as important as this Hiroshima Summit and whether other countries could have played the same role as Japan did this time in relation to the Global South. Professor Sahashi then asked whether the summit would have been as important without the participation of President Zelensky and whether the G7 could offer meaningful suggestions to regions such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the future.
In response to these questions, Professor Naylor noted that one of the important summits in the past was the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, which addressed the African debt crisis, and that Japan’s diplomatic significance is highly regarded internationally. He also pointed out that partly due to its geographical location in Asia, Japan has a special role to play in approaching the Global South. In response to Professor Sahashi’s questions, he stated that the importance of this summit would not have been the same without the participation of President Zelensky, and as for the future importance of the G7 to the Global South, he answered that the G7 would lose its significance with respect to Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
After his responses, questions from the floor followed, including those about the outcomes of this summit on environmental issues, the impact on the G20 to be held in India, and the role of sherpas in the conference. A lively discussion continued until the end of the session.
*This forum was organized with subsidies from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.