National / Politics

G-7 host Abe to push for coordination in disaster risk reduction

Kyodo

In the wake of two deadly earthquakes that rocked southwestern Japan last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to push for international coordination in disaster risk reduction at the Group of Seven summit he will host in May, government officials said Tuesday.

The G-7 leaders plan to affirm the importance of sharing knowledge and lessons Japan gained from past disasters such as the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, as well as of making countries more resilient in the face of disasters, in a leaders’ declaration to be adopted at the summit, the officials said.

The leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States may also agree to take the lead in increasing assistance to developing countries in disaster risk reduction, they said.

Abe, who will preside over the May 26 to 27 summit in Mie Prefecture, plans to seek the cooperation of his G-7 peers in promoting disaster-resilient “quality infrastructure” in developing countries, according to the officials.

Compared with conventional infrastructure, quality infrastructure excels in safety and durability and is more environmentally friendly, though it has higher initial costs.

Japan is eager to promote quality infrastructure in Asia, where China is boosting its clout through increased aid and the launch of the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

According to the officials, Japan has shared the view with other G-7 members that disaster-resilient infrastructure serves as a basis for sustainable economic growth.

Abe has said that policy coordination in promoting world economic growth and fighting terrorism will top the agenda at what will be the first G-7 summit in Asia in eight years.

The Ise-Shima summit is also likely to focus on regional issues such as North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons development, and China’s island construction and militarization of outposts in disputed areas in the South China Sea.

In an outreach session, leaders from six Asian countries — Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam — as well as the Sub-Saharan African nation of Chad, will join the G-7 leaders for talks on Asian and African development with emphasis on high-quality infrastructure investment, international public health and women’s empowerment.