HIROSHIMA, Japan, May 19 (Xinhua) — Amid waves of protests, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ annual summit got underway on Friday in Japan’s western city of Hiroshima. Hundreds of protesters from all over the country, even abroad, gathered in Hiroshima’s Funairi Daiichi Park, not far from the summit’s venue, to decry the finger-pointing bloc that advertises its own version of world order.
Seen on-site were huge banners and placards that read “Junk G7,” “No Build-up to War” and “No to Japan-U.S. Military Alliance,” among many others. Crowds of protesters rallied around the summit venue, chanting slogans such as “U.S. Imperialists, Number One Terrorist!” “Stop the Lies!” “Stop the War!” “Stop the QUAD Alliance!” and “Stop NATO Alliance!”
Among the demonstrators was Cody Urban, a member of a U.S. anti-war civic group, who told Xinhua that the U.S.-led G7 summit is “a cabal of the rich nations” that creates tensions. “It’s important for us as Americans to come here and say that our people are not on the same page with the U.S. government,” said the 32-year-old who traveled all the way from his hometown in the U.S. state of Oregon. “We are united against the agenda of the G7, as its agenda is for the rich governments. It’s not an agenda for peace and stability,” he said.
As of Friday, protests and rallies have been held at multiple locations in Hiroshima and other Japanese cities, as people from both home and abroad took to the streets to oppose the gathering. This year, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who holds the G7’s rotating presidency, has chosen to host the G7 gathering in Hiroshima.
On Friday morning, Kishida took the G7 leaders and their spouses to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, where they laid wreaths at the cenotaph and planted trees in the drizzling rain. Many among the Japanese public, however, have scolded Kishida for seeking his own political interests in the name of the city once devastated by a U.S. atomic bombing during World War II. The G7 consists of the United States, Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan.
Leaders from South Korea, Brazil, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Comoros, Cook Islands and some international organizations, were also invited to the summit. Major issues including the Ukraine crisis, global economic outlook and climate change are expected to be touched upon during the three-day gathering, though expectations for achieving tangible results remain low.