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2008年7月 5日 (土)


2008/7/5 --The Asahi Shimbun, July 4 (IHT/Asahi: July 5,2008)

EDITORIAL: The summit process


Leaders of Japan, the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Russia, Canada and Italy will gather at Lake Toyako, Hokkaido, for the opening Monday of the Group of Eight summit. Certainly, the G-8 nations are important, but many people now question whether this select group can effectively plot the necessary courses to resolve the thorny problems facing the world. Shouldn't participation, it is asked, be expanded to a greater number of countries?


(plot=ひそやかに計画する) (thorny=やっかいな、困難な)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and others be added. There is also the view that Arab and Islamic states should be included, as well as the more radical position that only the United States and China are needed as a Group of Two.


Compared with 1975, when the summit process started, the global map of national clout has definitely changed.



There is good reason to question the significance of discussing the global economy when China has no representation. At the same time, India and Brazil are among emerging economies that are galloping ahead. Nations blessed with crude oil and other natural resources, as well as investment funds that move across national borders, have a major impact on the global economy. Their influence cannot be ignored.


Reacting to changes in the global order, this top-level meeting of major powers has transformed itself. Following the end of the Cold War, for instance, Russia became an official member, changing the group's original makeup as a club of leading Western-style democracies.


At the Okinawa Summit in 2000, outreach talks were held to pursue dialogue with African nations. The leaders of China and other emerging economies were also subsequently invited to attend, and are now part of the process.


(outreach=援助の、福祉の、奉仕の) (subsequently=その後に、その次に)

At Lake Toyako, only one day of the three-day agenda has been allotted for traditional G-8 talks. The rest of the program will feature meetings with African leaders, a G-13ramework including China, India and other countries, and G-16‥discussions with Australia, South Korea and other rising powers. This will be the largest scale gathering in history of the summit meetings, with more than 20 national leaders on hand.


(G-13ramework=? framework ?)

This growth reflects the increase in discussion themes that make little sense with only eight countries at the table. How will the world confront global warming, the soaring prices of crude oil and food and other critical issues? A framework is needed to target each problem with a different lineup of leaders.


In fact, deliberations of such concerns are also being advanced at venues other than this yearly summit. Held just last month, for example, was the food summit sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, the Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change in Seoul, and a ministerial conference of leading oil producer and consumer nations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.




At the food summit, however, participating nations clashed sharply on biofuel and other issues, in some cases further aggravating already conflicting interests. The debate has been carried over to Lake Toyako, although the odds hardly favor ready resolutions to any of the outstanding issues.


(biofuel=バイオ燃料) (aggravate=状態を悪化させる) (odds=様々な問題)

To what degree can participating countries reach a shared awareness of the challenges and mobilize that mind-set to confirm their determination to hammer out solutions? That is the single greatest function expected of the expanded G-8 summit. While it is fine to debate the numbers or the frameworks of participating countries, the first priority must be to maximize the value of the talks.


(mind-set=考え方) (hammer out=作り出す、たたいて作り出す)

The crises facing the world are grave. How far can leaders succeed in forging solidarity? If Lake Toyako wraps up as a mere diplomatic show, the limits of the G-8 framework will be revealed once and for all.


(forge=前進する、進む、先行する) (solidarity=団結、結束、連帯)

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 4 (IHT/Asahi: July 5,2008)

朝日新聞7月04日号 (英語版 2008年7月05日発行)


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