Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both attending a summit of major industrial powers for the first time, played markedly different roles at the Group of Eight Okinawa summit that ended July 23.

Mori, as conference chairman, assumed his favorite role of coordinator and managed to steer clear of trouble at the meeting of world leaders despite widespread concern about his lack of diplomatic experience and his tendency to commit gaffes.

Putin, who visited China and North Korea immediately before attending the summit, used the high-profile conference to raise objections to the planned U.S. national missile defense shield. The new president — who shared with British Prime Minister Tony Blair the distinction of being the youngest summiteer at 47 — conducted tough negotiations with the more experienced U.S. President Bill Clinton. Putin placed emphasis on Russia's national interests and pragmatic diplomacy in the negotiations with Clinton, who was attending his eighth summit.