Kishida wraps up tour of five G7 countries

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has finished his tour of five Group of Seven nations.
Japan holds the G7 presidency this year, and hosts the annual summit this coming May in Hiroshima.
Kishida outlined his trip at a press conference in Washington.

Kishida said that the biggest issue for the leaders in the lead-up to the Hiroshima summit was Russia's nearly year-old invasion of Ukraine.

Kishida noted that the invasion poses a challenge not only to Europe, but to the rules and principles of the international community as a whole. He said all the leaders agreed that the G7 summit in Hiroshima should showcase their determination to uphold the international order based on the rule of law.

Kishida said that the leaders also confirmed that they will maintain and strengthen tough sanctions against Russia, and continue to strongly support Ukraine. He added that the gathering of world leaders in Hiroshima is more than just a G7 summit.

Kishida also sounded a note of warning for the survival of mankind. He said it would be unforgivable to ignore the history of refraining from using nuclear weapons in the 77 years since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said he hopes addressing the world from the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima will give such a message extra force and historical weight.

Kishida added that the G7 needs to further strengthen its commitment to the less economically developed nations of the Global South to deal with various challenges facing the international community. He said the leaders agreed that Japan should more closely engage with the Global South in areas such as climate change, energy, food security, health and development. Kishida said they agreed to work together at the G7 summit.

Kishida also said the situation is increasingly precarious in areas around Japan. He pointed to the effort to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the East and South China seas, and North Korea's increasing nuclear and missile activities. He also reiterated his strong sense of crisis over the security environment in East Asia and the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals.