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G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Date: April 10-11
Venue: Hiroshima
Chair: Fumio Kishida, minister of foreign affairs

The G7 foreign ministers issued the “Hiroshima Declaration on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation” to reaffirm their commitment to creating a world without nuclear weapons, also naming Syria, Ukraine and North Korea as countries that may endanger that goal. In a separately adopted joint communique, the G7 nations condemn North Korea in particular for its repeated provocations. The Hiroshima meeting was held after the country conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6 and launched ballistic missiles on Feb. 7. The joint statement condemned those activities “in the strongest terms.” The ministers also shared concerns over the situation in the East and South China Seas, strongly opposing, in a separately issued joint statement, coercive or provocative actions to alter the present status quo.


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G7 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting

Date: April 23-24
Venue: Niigata
Chair: Hiroshi Moriyama, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries

The agriculture ministers of the G7 nations adopted the “Niigata Declaration” aiming at strengthening global food security and stable food supply worldwide at a time when the world population is growing and some nations are experiencing aging societies. In the meeting, the ministers recognized the significant need to encourage new and motivated entrants to the farming and agri-food industries, as well as the need to support worldwide research on climate change. The meeting also decided to hold a G7 Forum on Investment in the Agri-Food Sector to benchmark best practices, exchange policy experience on access to credit and facilitate responsible investment in agriculture and its related businesses, particularly in developing nations.


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G7 ICT Ministers’ Meeting

Date: April 29-30
Venue: Takamatsu, Kagawa Pref.
Chair: Sanae Takaichi, minister of internal affairs and communications

The G7 ministers responsible for information and communications technology discussed promoting economic growth and establishing communications security in a society where the “Internet of Things” and the artificial intelligence are becoming more popular in use. It was the first ICT ministers’ meeting of the G7 countries in about 20 years. The meeting adopted the “Charter for the Digitally Connected World,” reaf rming member nations’ fundamental principles to promote and protect the free flow of information. The meeting also adopted the “Joint Declaration by G7 ICT Ministers,” which stipulates that G7 nations promote Internet openness and cross-border information flow, while opposing applicable
policies that require access to, or transfer of, source code of mass-market software.


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G7 Energy Ministerial Meeting

Date: May 1-2
Venue: Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Pref.
Chair: Motoo Hayashi, minister of economy, trade and industry

The energy ministers adopted a joint statement, the “Kitakyushu Initiative on Energy Security for Global Growth,” endorsing the G7 nations’ leading role in investment to develop oil and natural gas fields to secure sustainable global economic growth. The investment in particular will focus on upstream investment to secure stable energy prices, on technology development for clean energy, and for highquality infrastructure investment. In the joint statement, the ministers shared the view that “current energy price levels and volatility hamper investment and add uncertainty to energy markets and the global economy.” Additionally, Japan announced a plan to form a framework to introduce an LNG trading market in Japan sometime in the first half of the 2020’s.


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G7 Education Ministers’ Meeting

Date: May 14-15
Venue: Kurashiki, Okayama Pref.
Chair: Hiroshi Hase, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology

The ministers discussed the significance of education and its potential role to settle threats — such as poverty and terrorism — to global societies. They also adopted the “Kurashiki Declaration” stipulating that the G7 nations will promote coordination aimed at solving those issues through education. The Kurashiki meeting followed the November 2015 Paris attacks and the movement of Syrian refugees into Europe. The declaration cited the need for educational programs to nurture the concepts of liberty, democracy and respect for life, in expectation that education will help solve those issues, as well as wealth discrepancies and unemployment problems facing younger generations.


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G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting

Date: May 15-16
Venue: Toyama
Chair: Tamayo Marukawa, minister of the environment

The G7 environment ministers adopted a joint communique that stipulates that the G7 nations commit to formulate long-term strategies to cut down greenhouse gas emissions to meet the goals stipulated in the Paris Agreement last year, as soon as possible and well within schedule. The ministers shared the view in the joint statement that the strategies, to be presented to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, are essential to meet the goals set in the Paris Agreement. The ministers also agreed on the “Toyama Framework on Material Cycles,” a framework that lays out specific actions for efficient and maximized use of resources, promoting the ideas of reduce, reuse and recycle.


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G7 Science and Technology 
 Ministers’ Meeting

Date: May 15-17
Venue: Tsukuba, Ibaraki Pref.
Chair: Aiko Shimajiri, state minister of science and technology
 policy

The G7 science and technology ministers reached an agreement that health sciences could play a significant role in solving problems related to aging societies, and this agreement was reflected in the joint “Tsukuba Communique.” The joint statement stipulated that the G7 nations will cooperate in promoting research and international collaboration on brain research to help treat brain disorders such as dementia. The ministers agreed in the joint statement to promote open science and sharing of the outcomes of publicly financed research on the brain. At the Tsukuba meeting, the ministers also agreed to support global networking of female scientists, researchers and students. They recognized the need for monitoring, and, if necessary, taking action against gender stereotyping that is quite often seen in the academic and corporate worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting

Date: May 20-21
Venue: Sendai, Miyagi Pref.
Chair: Taro Aso, minister of fi nance, deputy prime minister

The G7 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed that extreme fluctuations and erratic movements in the foreign exchange markets negatively impact the global economy and the stability of worldwide financial markets. The yen increased to ¥106.27 to the dollar from ¥111.89 in just two days following the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy meeting on April 28, in which it was decided not to take somewhat expected monetary easing action. The G7 nations reaffirmed that they will avoid resorting to measures to lower the currency to boost the economy. Instead, each of the member countries should use their own discretion on the balance between financial and fiscal policies, as well as structural reform, to boost the economy, they said. The G7 nations also committed to take the initiative on efforts to crack down on tax avoidance activities worldwide, and adopted the “G7 Action Plan on Combatting the Financing of Terrorism.”


 G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting

Date: Sept. 11-12
Venue: Kobe, Hyogo Pref.
Chair: Minister of health, labor and welfare

Japan wants to take the initiative in discussions at the health ministers meeting on global issues such the as formation of universal health coverage programs, as well as combating high-mortality infectious diseases. The Kobe meeting will be held at a time when the global risks of infectious diseases were highlighted following the recent epidemics of the Zika virus in Brazil and the Ebola virus in Africa last year. The spread of Ebola in particular resulted in criticism on the response of the World Health Organization following the outbreak, with some health industry officials even calling for the creation of an international organization to respond quickly to major health crises. The ministers are also expected to discuss the needs for lifelong health programs in aging societies, especially in Asia as the number of chronic disease sufferers is likely to increase in the near future.


G7 Transport Ministers’ Meeting

Date: Sept. 24-25
Venue: Karuizawa, Nagano Pref.
Chair: Minister of health, labor and welfare

The G7 transport ministers held a meeting in Frankfurt in September, discussing a wide variety of topics related to the advanced driving assist systems, or so-called self-driving technologies. This year, the ministers will deepen discussions on the topic at the Karuizawa meeting. Driverless technology and cars with greater energy-ef ciency are the hottest issue in the auto industry, not only for existing carmakers that are developing self-driving cars, but also for technology companies such as Google and Apple, who are conducting tests of cars running on their technology. Driverless technology is expected to reduce the number of traffic accidents caused by human error and ease traffic jams.

 

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