Leaders of some of the richest countries in the world are facing a jam-packed agenda at the start of the G8 summit. Aid to Africa is playing a major part of the first day. An official report said G8 countries were falling short of their target to double contributions by 2010.
But the European Commission announced plans to give a billion euros in unused farm subsidies to help ease the global food crisis.
The leaders at Toyako on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido are also tackling climate change, sky-high oil prices and a deteriorating world economy.
Some high-profile lobbyists are angry that increasing prosperity in some countries is fuelling an explosion in food prices for the super-poor in others.
China and India are to join discussions on how to fight global warming, though US President George Bush is pessimistic about a breakthrough unless the two burgeoning economies change direction, and agree to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.
Japan has mobilised 21,000 police officers to protect the leaders, and stop thousands of anti-G8 protestors from disrupting the summit.
Activists are planning to march on the summit venue, though it is unclear exactly how close the police will allow them to get.