The Mainichi Shimbun answers some common questions readers may have about the G-20 Osaka Summit that is under way in Japan.
Question: What kind of role will Japan play this year in its first turn at the G-20 summit presidency and as host of the international meeting that brings together 19 leading rich and developing countries plus the European Union (EU)?
Answer: The host nation chooses the agenda based on what the most important issues are on the current international stage, and leads the debate on them. It is also responsible for compiling the G-20 Leaders' Declaration, the contents of which are agreed upon during the summit. The 20 members include advanced nations such as the U.S. and Japan, along with emerging countries such as China. The group was formed following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the ensuing world financial crisis in 2008 to try to revitalize the global economy.
Q: How is the summit presidency decided?
A: The role rotates among the members, with each term as chair lasting one year. The ordering is decided in such a way that the position is not filled consecutively by two countries of the same geographical region or countries of the same economic classification, meaning that the summit cannot be held successively by two rich nations. Countries can put themselves forward as candidates for the responsibility, which Japan has done.
Japan is also a member of the G-20 Troika, a group of three countries consisting of the current year's G-20 presidency, along with the country that fulfilled the role in the preceding year and next year's succeeding nation. Currently the Troika includes the 2018 host Argentina, Japan as the 2019 incumbent, and 2020's Saudi Arabia. It is standard for the holder of the presidency to conduct the summit in its own country.
Q: What will they talk about?
A: The main focus is on economic issues, but recently discussions have widened to include issues such as climate change and terrorism prevention. The national character of the host country also plays a part. In 2018, Argentina used its presidency of the G-20 to call for measures to attract foreign investment into infrastructure projects. Germany put discussion of moves to encourage economic growth in Africa, an area with deep connections with Europe, on the agenda at its 2017 summit.
Q: What issues will characterize this year's summit?
A: Trade disputes between the U.S. and China are becoming fiercer, but Japan intends to bring up issues that will allow all nations to sit for discussions. This will include the "Data Free Flow with Trust" (DFFT) initiative to improve public trust in data distribution in an age of internet development, along with reform at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to support free trade.
Including the G-20 members and invited guest countries and international organizations, some 37 countries, regions and organizations are participating in the 2019 summit. It's expected that about 30,000 representatives and other delegates from these places will attend the meetings. The event may also be a good opportunity for Japan to convey some appeal, too.
(Japanese original by Satoko Takeshita, Business News Department)