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G7 leaders visit Japanese holy shrine ahead of summit

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G7 leaders visit Japanese holy shrine ahead of summit

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  • Economics, refugees and security top G7 agenda
  • Japan’s primary concern – Chinese assertiveness
  • Hiroshima visit next on Obama itinerary

World leaders have been welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Shinto religion’s holiest site ahead of a G7 summit.

The venue of the Ise Grand Shrine was chosen by Abe in the hope of providing an insight into the heart of Japanese culture.

The G7 partners are made up of the US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, although Commission President Jean Claude Junker is also there representing the European Union.

He’s due to call for solidarity on the migration issue and recognition that it is a global problem in need of funding from leading industrialised nations.

Other topics on the agenda range from the health of the world’s economy to China’s maritime assertiveness.

Why China?

A recent Pentagon report said Beijing had reclaimed more than 3,200 acres of land in the south-eastern part of the South China Sea, and had weaponised islands in an attempt to build a deterrent capability in the region.

US officials fear China could be preparing to enforce an air-defence identification zone over the South China Sea, similar to one it declared over the disputed Senkaku Islands in 2013.

By the end of the summit on Friday the leaders are also expected to promote monetary, fiscal and structural policies to spur growth.

After that the main focus of the trip to Japan for US President Barack Obama will be his visit to Hiroshima, the site of the world’s first atomic bombing. The purpose of that stop will be to highlight reconciliation between the two former World War Two foes.

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