• Kyodo

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Japan is making arrangements to hold a foreign ministerial meeting of the Group of Seven countries in Hiroshima before the country hosts the G-7 leaders’ summit next year, a government source said Wednesday.

By choosing Hiroshima, which suffered a U.S. atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, as the venue for the G-7 foreign ministerial talks, Japan hopes to rally international support for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, the source said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced earlier this month that the G-7 summit will be held in an area of central Japan close to a grand Shinto shrine.

The government has not finalized Hiroshima as the venue for the gathering of the foreign ministers of the G-7 members — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United States — given that nuclear powers Britain, France and the United States could be reluctant about such plan, the source said.

A senior Foreign Ministry official told Kyodo News that holding the G-7 foreign ministerial talks in Hiroshima is “being considered.”

Hiroshima is a candidate venue as Japan believes a visit by a U.S. secretary of state to the city would demonstrate the strong alliance between Tokyo and Washington, the source said.

Just as in the G-7 summit this year in Germany, China’s maritime muscle-flexing is most likely to be one of the key agenda items for the foreign ministers, the source said.

Japan will have to coordinate with the six other G-7 members before deciding on the date for the G-7 foreign ministerial talks, according to the source. Most often, G-7 foreign ministers meet between March and April.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, a House of Representatives member from a constituency in Hiroshima, had been pushing for the G-7 summit to be held in the city to promote nuclear disarmament.

When he announced the venue for the 2016 G-7 summit, Abe said his government would consider selecting venues for G-7 ministerial meetings from the seven other candidate sites that failed in their bids to host the G-7 summit, which is expected to be held sometime between next May and June.

The seven were Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, Sendai, Niigata, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Nagoya, Kobe and Hiroshima.