The G7 leaders on Friday began their three-days of talks in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, during which the US is set to announce fresh sanctions on Russia as the continued war in Ukraine will be a major point of focus during the Summit.
Earlier in the day, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is chairing the G7 gathering, welcomed the leaders at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park with his wife Yuko, reports public broadcaster NHK.
The leaders in attendance are US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, European Union president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel.
They also took turns laying wreaths at the Hiroshima cenotaph and later stood in a line with their heads bowed, paying respects to the estimated 140,000 people killed in the August 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath.
The leaders will also visit the Peace Memorial Museum in the park and are expected to meet the atomic bomb survivors, known as hibakusha, according to the NHK.
In the afternoon, the G7 leaders are scheduled to begin discussions at a hotel in the city. A total of 10 sessions will be held during the three-day summit.
To wrap up the talks, the leaders will issue a declaration highlighting the main points of their discussions.
Regarding the new US sanctions on Russia, Washington is hoping that the measures will convince the other G7 countries to increase theirs, reports the BBC.
Washington says the new measures, which include banning 70 entities from receiving US exports as well as another 300 new sanctions on other individuals or entities, are aimed at crippling Moscow’s “war machine” in Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine, now in its 15th month, is at the top of the summit agenda.
According to unofficial media reported, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will virtually attend the summit on Sunday.
Meanwhile, ‘no war’ protests are underway near the G7 site, where demonstrators are chanting anti-war slogans, like “no to the summit. No to war”.
Japan’s choice of Hiroshima as the host city for the G7 Summit highlights the peace-building theme of the gathering.
Hiroshima is also the hometown of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. His office has said the G7 envisions a world free of nuclear weapons — and disarmament is likely to be a topic he is likely to focus on, the BBC reported.
The Summit comes as Western leaders warn Russia against using nuclear weapons in war and North Korea has ramped up its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing.