The Group of Eight (G8) Summit is an annual meeting attended by the leaders of the eight countries, namely, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the President of the European Commission. "Summit" in the strict sense means a leaders' meeting, but it usually refers to a series of meetings which include those of foreign ministers and finance ministers that are held prior to the leaders' meeting.
The host country of the Summit holds the G8 presidency for the entire calendar year. The Presidency carries out preparatory meetings and prepares for the Summit meeting, Foreign Ministers' meeting and Finance Ministers' meeting. Furthermore, the Presidency may call for emergency meetings as necessary in light of international situations at a given time.
In the past, Japan has assumed the G8 Presidency for four times, namely, in 1979, 1986, 1993, and 2000. In 2008, Japan will assume the Presidency for the fifth time and will hold the Summit in Hokkaido Toyako.