On the agenda
What happens next?
Their trip to the shrine, set in a 2,000-year-old forest, risked sparking the first controversy of the summit, with academics and other religious groups warning that Shinzo Abe could use the presence of Obama, Cameron and co at the site to further his conservative political agenda.
After their morning stroll, discussions among the leaders of Japan, the US, the UK, Italy, Canada, France and Germany will quickly turn to the parlous state of the global economy – although one of the chief countries of concern, China, will not be present, of course.
There is disagreement on how to pull the global economy out of its difficulties, with Japan persevering with a combination of pump-priming and monetary easing, while counties such as Britain retain their faith in austerity.
There is little agreement on how to tackle recent fluctuations in the currency markets, with the US opposed to attempts by Japan to weaken the yen and give its exporters some much-needed breathing space.
In the end, the G7 leaders will probably make do with a diplomatic fudge. With agreement on concerted action unlikely, the communiqué, due to be released on Friday, is expected to encourage flexibility and allow member states to adapt economic policies to their own circumstances in the search for growth.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was greeted by Ise Jingu’s head priest priest at shrine entrance.
Abe and other world leaders will cross Ujibashi bridge, leaving the temporal world and entering the spiritual on their way to the revered centre of Japan’s indigenous Shinto religion.
A gravel path will taken them to main sanctuary, home of Amaterasu Omikami, the mythological empress from whom all Japanese emperors are said to be descended, although they will not be permitted to enter the inner sanctuary itself.
Japanese officials said the leaders would not be taking part in any religious rituals. The idea, said a foreign ministry spokesman, is to give them a sense of the “air, water, nature and atmosphere” of the shrine.
“Ise is the place to present the beauty of nature and the richness of our culture and long tradition,” the spokesman said.
G7 summit begins at Ise Jingu shrine
Yesterday they went hiking in a forest near the G7 summit venue. Trudeau told reporters:
This is the kind of work-life balance that I’ve often talked about as being essential in order to be able to be in service of the country with all one’s very best, and that’s certainly something I’m going to continue to make sure we do.
The leaders of seven countries – US president Barack Obama, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, German chancellor Angela Merkel, UK prime minister David Cameron, French president François Hollande, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi – will meet on Thursday and Friday for two days of talks on a wide-ranging agenda including:
- the global economy and trade
- international terrorism
- the refugee crisis
- climate change
- North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme
- Chinese claims in the South China Sea
For G7 Live Please Go To: http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/may/26/g7-summit-obama-merkel-cameron-abe-japan-livehttp://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/may/26/g7-summit-obama-merkel-cameron-abe-japan-live