Press Conference by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio as Chair of the G7 Hiroshima Summit Meeting
May 21, 2023
A short while ago, the G7 Hiroshima Summit Meeting was closed with all sessions completed. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the leaders of the G7 and eight invited countries and the heads of seven international organizations, as well as all other participants and those concerned. Before presenting the Chair’s Summary regarding the outcome of this historic Summit, let me briefly offer my thoughts about hosting the Summit in this city of Hiroshima.
In the summer of 1945, Hiroshima was devasted by atomic bombing. This very place, where the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is currently located, was instantly reduced to ashes. Who could have imagined that Hiroshima would be rebuilt into such a beautiful city of peace thanks to tireless efforts by the people of Hiroshima.
In the spring seven years ago, I, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, hosted the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here in Hiroshima. The following month, U.S. President Barack Obama was invited to Hiroshima, and Japan and the U.S., once enemies in a fierce war, renewed their pledge for a “world without nuclear weapons” from the A-bombed city of Hiroshima in the spirit of tolerance and reconciliation.
Japan’s leading postwar architect TANGE Kenzo, in designing the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, placed the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on a straight axis extending from the A-bomb Dome, with the hope of creating peace. This axis, which symbolizes the desire for peace, precisely represents the philosophy that has guided Japan since the end of World War II and points to the way forward for the international community.
We are now faced with the challenge of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which has shaken the international order. It is precisely because of the security environment that is as severe as today that Japan, this year’s G7 Chair, has a mission to uphold the free and open international order based on the rule of law, and to demonstrate to the world its determination to fully defend peace and prosperity.
No other place would have been as suited as Hiroshima, a symbol of the pledge for peace, in sending out such a determination. With this in mind, I had the honor of welcoming the leaders of the G7 and invited countries, as well as the heads of international organizations, to Hiroshima for the Summit that has ended.
During the Summit, we, G7 leaders, had candid discussions and shared a renewed determination to work toward a “world without nuclear weapons,” resulting in the issuance of the “G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament,” the G7’s first-ever document focusing on nuclear disarmament. In the vision, G7 leaders expressed their shared sense of the importance of the 77-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons, affirming that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” I believe that it is significant for the G7 leaders, who heard the voices of A-bomb survivors and had a first-hand look at the reality of the atomic bombings in the A-bombed city, to have issued such as declaration.
This morning, I accompanied the leaders of the invited countries and the heads of international organizations to this Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and share with them the pledge for peace.
We, G7 leaders, have “two responsibilities.” The first is the solemn responsibility to fully defend the security of the people under the current severe security environment. At the same time, we have the noble responsibility to never to lose sight of the ideal of a “world without nuclear weapons” and to continue to pursue it.
It is our belief and responsibility to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy peace and prosperity without fear of nuclear weapons. That is why our generations must continue to appeal from the A-bombed city of Hiroshima that the use of nuclear weapons has caused indescribable devastation and that nuclear war could destroy the entire humanity. As we strive to avoid these dire consequences at all costs, we need to steadily move forward on the path toward a future “world without nuclear weapons.”
Believing in the survival of the humanity and seeking peace, the leaders of countries, the media from around the world, the youth and children leading tomorrow and all those with firsthand memory of World War II who have gathered in Hiroshima today are all “citizens of Hiroshima.” I believe that when all eight billion people of the world become “citizens of Hiroshima,” nuclear weapons will disappear from the earth. With this in mind, I invited the leaders of some of the world’s leading countries to gather here in Hiroshima. Pursuing an ideal is different from dreaming. An ideal is something we can strive to attain. To ensure an ideal future when our children, grandchildren and descendants will be able to live in a world without nuclear weapons, let us take realistic steps, one by one, as citizens of Hiroshima, starting today here in Hiroshima.
Seventy-seven years and nine months from the time of the bombing of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, we, G7 leaders, are gathered here in Hiroshima, Japan. We are now listening together to the voices and prayers of Hiroshima, coming from that past. Threats of nuclear weapons for changing the status quo by force are unacceptable, let alone their use. We must now reaffirm this fundamental statement, which concerns the survival of the human race: “We must not use nuclear weapons, we must not threaten with nuclear weapons.”
The international community is now at a historic turning point in the face of Russia’s outrageous attempts to unilaterally change its borders by force. The Hiroshima Summit was held at a time when the unquestionable principles of sovereignty and respect for territorial integrity, established and long upheld by our ancestors, are being challenged. I believe that it is significant that we have invited President Zelensky to Japan to demonstrate the unwavering solidarity between the G7 and Ukraine, and to send out a strong message to the world that the G7 confirms the importance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law and renews its determination to fully defend it.
Any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force anywhere in the world is never acceptable. As G7 leaders, we will strive to bring to Ukraine a just and lasting peace as soon as possible. We also agreed that the participation of the private sector is essential for the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, and that we will strengthen our efforts to block moves to avoid and circumvent sanctions against Russia in an effort to maintain and strengthen the sanctions and ensure their effectiveness.
The world is now faced with complex crises including the climate crisis and pandemics, in addition to the invasion of Ukraine, and it is true that emerging and developing countries and people in vulnerable circumstances in the so-called “Global South” have been significantly affected by these crises. Unless we listen to the voices of these countries and people and show our commitment to cooperation on a wide range of urgent issues while respecting human dignity and human security through a “people-oriented” approach, our appeal for fully defending the free and open international order based on the rule of law may sound like a slogan without substance. Building on the proactive diplomacy that we have pursued around the world to bridge the gap between these countries and the G7, the Hiroshima Summit has brought together the G7 and our international partners to engage in earnest discussions on a wide range of challenges that we need to address.
The food crisis is an urgent issue that concerns people’s livelihoods. During this Summit, we, the G7 and invited countries, confirmed in a statement of action that we will work together to address this challenge. We also confirmed that we will work together in supporting global infrastructure, and that in doing so, we will promote transparent and fair development finance.
We also had candid discussions on the climate crisis, an issue common to all humankind that cannot be postponed, and confirmed the need to address issues like as climate change, biodiversity and environmental pollution in an integrated manner. We also shared the view that that energy security, climate crisis and geopolitical risks should be addressed in an integrated manner, and that we should pursue the common goal of net-zero emissions under diverse paths according to each country’s circumstances. Japan, for our part, will support the energy transition of regional partner countries through the realization of the concept of the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC).
Furthermore, with the COVID-19 pandemic being contained, we deepened discussions and confirmed solidarity on issues such as global health to prepare for “the next crisis” and promotion of gender mainstreaming. With regard to global health, Japan, as part of G7’s overall financial contributions, expressed its intention to make contributions totaling more than 7.5 billion dollars from the public and private sectors, including a 200 million dollar pledge for the GHIT Fund (Global Health Innovative Technology Fund).
Contributing to the resolution of the world’s various issues has always been the core mission of the G7. At a time when the world is faced with complex crises, the G7 is determined to listen to and work with our international partners who face various challenges, and to respond to those challenges with the greatest care and attention to detail.
Turning to the global economy, which faces serious challenges, including inflationary pressures and food and energy insecurity amid Russia’s protracted aggression against Ukraine, we confirmed that the G7 will strongly lead the global economy and take the initiative in efforts to achieve sustainable growth.
As we, G7 leaders, discussed the importance of promoting efforts to encourage the supply side and stimulate private investment for sustainable economic growth, I mentioned Japan’s vision of a “New Form of Capitalism” and explained that Tokyo is committed to promoting a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution through “investment in people” and solutions to social issues under public-private partnerships.
Also, for the first time, the G7 Summit addressed economic resilience and economic security in an independent session. While the importance of a multilateral trading system remains unchanged, it is also necessary to strengthen economic resilience and economic security of the international community as a whole, including the “Global South.” To this end, we, the G7, will strengthen our efforts to strengthen supply chains and core infrastructure, launch a platform regarding economic coercion and lead the transition to a clean energy economy for the world as a whole.
Since this Summit was held in Japan, the only G7 member from Asia, for the first time in seven years, we had earnest discussions on the Indo-Pacific as well. I explained our new plan for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP), and we, the G7, agreed to continue to work together to realize the FOIP.
Regarding China, we, the G7, agreed on the importance of candid dialogue to directly convey our concerns and the need to work together on global issues, among others, and shared the view that China should act as a responsible member of the international community and that we are ready to build constructive and stable relations with China through dialogue. Regarding the situations in the East and South China Seas, we expressed our grave concern and agreed to oppose any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force or coercion. We also reconfirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and urged a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.
Regarding North Korea, we confirmed that we will continue to work together on the issue of its nuclear and missile programs and the abduction issue, and, as the G7, strongly urged an immediate resolution of the abduction issue.
While the Hiroshima Summit has ended today, Japan continues to serve as this year’s G7 Chair. Japan is committed to continuing to uphold the free and open international order based on the rule of law, and strengthen our engagement with our international partners. From such perspectives, we will continue to lead the discussions in the G7 and fulfill our duties as G7 Chair.
We will continue to have opportunities to work with international partners, including those in the “Global South,” such as the G20 New Delhi Summit, the SDGs Summit, and the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit Meeting. Taking advantage of these opportunities, we will take over the fruitful discussions that took place here in Hiroshima and lead the way in strengthening our partnerships with these countries in order to solve various issues together.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people of Hiroshima and all parties concerned for their cooperation in organizing the three-day Summit. Thank you very much.