When the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama drew to a close May 30, Sayaka Funada-Classen, leader of a Tokyo-based nongovernmental organization, felt the years of engagement with the government had partly paid off.

That was because Japan promised a significant increase in aid to the poverty-stricken continent — and because citizens' groups were deeply involved in TICAD's preparation and were able to hold various events on its sidelines, Funada said.

But for that very same reason, the vice president of TICAD Civil Society Forum is now growing concerned that Africa might not receive enough attention at the Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, next week.