U.N. chief may visit Japan for G-7 summit-related talks in May


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is likely to visit Japan in May as part of Group of Seven summit talks on issues of global concern, U.N. officials said Friday.

Ban plans to seize on the visit to confer with G-7 leaders on climate change and other environmental and energy issues, among other topics, officials told Kyodo News.

This year’s G-7 summit will be held in Mie Prefecture on May 26-27. The G-7 groups together major powers including Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United States and Japan.

During his stay in Japan, the U.N. chief could meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other top government leaders, the officials said.

Ban is expected to relay his gratitude to Japan for its contribution to the United Nations since its accession to the world body in 1956 and compare notes on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

The Japanese side is believed to be seeking Ban’s help in pushing for U.N. reforms — particularly an expansion of the powerful Security Council, which Tokyo hopes to join as a permanent member. The current permanent members are Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.

If realized, Ban’s trip to Japan will be his first since last March, when he participated in a U.N. conference on disaster risk reduction in Sendai.

Ban, whose second five-year term as U.N. secretary general ends this year, has at times attended talks on the sidelines of major leadership summits, including a session of the former G-8 in Hokkaido in 2008. Russia was a member of the grouping, but its membership was suspended in 2014 over its annexing of Crimea.

On climate change, Ban is likely to ask G-7 nations to take a leadership role in steadily carrying out the Paris Agreement adopted at U.N. climate talks last December, the officials said.

The accord sets out a long-term global goal of reaching a peak in heat-trapping gas emissions as soon as possible and effectively reducing them to zero in the second half of this century.

Ban is also expected to issue a call to action from G-7 states to help resolve the Syria civil war, the refugee crisis in Europe and the ongoing unrest in Ukraine, they said.

He is also likely to push for the steady implementation of U.N. Sustainable Development Goals adopted last September, they added.

The set of 17 goals is intended to lift millions more people out of poverty through 2030.