The split among the Group of 20 economies at their weekend summit in Germany demonstrates that Japan must carefully position itself amid the changing dynamics of the diverse club.

The policies of U.S. President Donald Trump saw his country pitted against the rest of the G-20 on the Paris accord and its place in the global response to climate change, with last-minute efforts to find common ground capping what German Chancellor Angela Merkel described as two days of difficult discussions.

The high-profile gathering in Hamburg came at a critical juncture in global affairs as Trump's commitment to his "America First" policy platform sparked talk of a global leadership vacuum. These unusual concerns tested the unity of the world's 20 advanced and emerging economies.