National / Politics

Big price tag for security as Japan gears up for next G-7 summit

Kyodo

Heavy anti-terrorism measures mean the overall cost to Japan for hosting the Group of Seven summit next May won’t be any less than that for staging the previous summit in 2008, despite the cost-cutting effect derived from experience, a government source said Monday.

The total budget for the Ise-Shima summit in Mie Prefecture is expected to come to around ¥60 billion, including ¥34 billion for security measures, compared with the ¥60.6 billion total, with ¥33.1 billion for security, to host the 2008 Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido.

The cost of holding an international conference can usually be reduced the second time around as the host country can make use of existing materials and equipment as well as know-how, the source said.

The figures for the next summit reflect the government’s commitment to strengthen information-gathering and security capabilities in the wake of the deadly Paris terrorist attacks, the source said.

Of the ¥60 billion budget, around ¥24 billion has already been secured from the fiscal 2014 and 2015 budgets by the National Police Agency and other government bodies.

The remaining ¥36 billion will be sought as part of a supplementary budget for fiscal 2015 and the fiscal 2016 budget to be compiled through the year-end, according to the source.

As part of security measures, the Japan Coast Guard is planning to procure a number of rubber rafts to strengthen monitoring as the main venue of the summit — a hotel on the tiny island of Kashikojima in Shima, Mie Prefecture — is surrounded by water. Bullet-proof glass will also be set up outside the hotel windows.

A makeshift heliport will be built near Kashikojima so the participating leaders can travel by air. Dozens of bullet-proof vehicles will be on hand as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping the other world leaders will visit nearby Ise Shrine, a grand Shinto sanctuary.

The government will also strengthen efforts to promote Japanese cuisine and culture during the summit to boost tourism.

At the international media center, where foreign media will be based, Japanese cuisine using local foodstuffs will be offered, and booths introducing Japan’s tourist spots will be set up.

The G-7 summit brings together the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.