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The financial meltdown of 2008 has accelerated the decay of the Group of Eight. One of the ideas circulating is to discontinue the group and replace it with the G20. Within the G20, there would be a G4 made up of the biggest players — Japan, the United States, China and the European Union.

Nothing has been settled, but the Hatoyama administration appears hostile to the demise of the G8. Since Japan — unlike Canada, Russia, and the individual European states — would make it into the elite G4, Tokyo’s reluctance looks surprising.

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