The Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors meeting kicked off Thursday in the city of Niigata with talk ostensibly about the global economy, but all eyes were on Washington and the ongoing negotiations over the U.S. debt ceiling.

Failure to come to an agreement to raise or suspend a debt limit would be “catastrophic,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during a news conference shortly after her arrival.

Addressing the elephant in the room, Yellen said a default on U.S. obligations “would produce an economic and financial catastrophe; millions of Americans could lose their jobs, household incomes would be reduced, American businesses would see credit markets deteriorate.”