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The Prime Minister in Action

Opening Ceremony for the B7 Tokyo Summit

April 21, 2016

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (1)

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (1)

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (1)
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (2)

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the opening ceremony of the B7 Tokyo Summit held in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“As Prime Minister of Japan I would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to business leaders of the G7 nations. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the warm messages of support that we have received from so many people in your countries for the people who were affected by the major earthquake that occurred last week in Japan.

Today, against the backdrop of ever-increasing mutual interdependence in the global economy, we are in an era in which we must share various risks and face them together. Violent extremism presents a major risk to the global economy. Response to the refugee crisis in the Middle East is no longer just a political issue; it is also a challenge that casts a shadow over the global economy.

In addition to heightening global geo-political risks, from the beginning of this year we have seen increasing uncertainty in the global economy, with large fluctuations in global markets due to such factors as concerns over the slowdown of the Chinese economy and declines in crude oil prices. Downside risks and vulnerabilities in the global economy are increasing. Recognition of this situation is shared globally and there is no mistaking that the current economic situation will be the major theme at the G7 Summit that is scheduled to be held next month.

It is based on this recognition that I, as Chair of the G7 Summit, am seeking every opportunity to hear opinions from experts on the global economy and international finance.

Unfortunately, many experts, including Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences Prof. Stiglitz and Prof. Krugman, and Prof. Tirole of France, have forecast that due to limited growth in emerging economies the global economic situation is likely to further deteriorate this year and global demand is likely to stagnate. Today I have just engaged in exchanges of opinions with experts about trends in the international oil markets, and I heard opinions of concern from these experts that the depressed price of crude oil could further negatively impact global demand due to a reduction in investment in oil-producing countries.

It is exactly in such a situation that the G7 nations must act as the drivers for sustainable and robust growth in the global economy. Strong commitment and policy coordination is required of the G7 nations. This is the clear message that I want to send out to the world from the G7 Ise-Shima Summit next month. On my visit to Washington D.C. last month I received the strong support of President Obama of the United States and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada for this concept.

Even in uncertain times, what we must do is clear.

It is not politics that creates global economic growth, it is you in the business community who do that. It is through mutual competition that you spur each other on to generate innovation and continuously create new added value. There is no other way to realize sustainable growth.

The role of governments is to eliminate the various barriers that are faced by businesses eager to achieve such growth. This is the reason why Japan is currently endeavoring to realize the TPP and the Japan-EU EPA, which will create free and open economic zones. I believe that it is the responsibility of the G7 nations to engage in joint coordination and action that will eliminate the various risks that you are confronting in the global economy and put us on a stable growth track.

The French philosopher Émile-Auguste Chartier once said, ‘Pessimism comes from the temperament, optimism from the will.’

Many of the experts I have met have indeed held pessimistic opinions about the outlook for the global economy. However, I remain optimistic. This is because I believe that if, through forums for discussion such as this one today, we can share a sense of urgency about the current situation and confirm our resolute will to engage in coordination and action together, then we will be able to change the future outlook.

I hope that all of you will engage in earnest discussions today about the future of the global economy, and what governments and the business community can do together.

Although unfortunately I have to leave the meeting shortly, I understand that I will be able to join you again for dinner this evening. I look forward to hearing about the outcomes of today’s discussions later today.

With the benefit of your advice I will further advance economic policies, seeking to make Japan’s Abenomics the world’s Abenomics. In so doing, I am resolved to perform my responsibilities as G7 Chair and play a firm leadership role in the global economy.”

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