After a trip to the Shinto religion’s holiest site Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the G7 (Group of Seven) summit with a working lunch.
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.
But the countries that are not invited to the Japan gathering are high on the agenda, as euronews’ James Franey explained.
“It’s the first day of the G7 summit here in Japan and the leaders will spend most of talking about the global economy.
“They are part worried about the slow down in China which has enjoyed explosive growth over the past two decades.
“Japan will be trying to convince the other countries about the need for more government spending as a means of rebooting the economy.
“But they have met already some opposition from Germany, which has argued – as they have done during the eurozone crisis – that you cannot spend your way out of debt.
“Finally on foreign policy, there has been some talk about what G7 can actually achieve on key crises such as Ukraine and Syria, when Russia doesn’t even have a seat at the table.
“But the Japanese government are keen to get some tough language about China’s assertive claims over some disputed territories in the South China Sea into the final communique.”
“So, China might not be on the guest list. But it is very much at the top of the agenda.”
Brexit is expected to be at the top of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s agenda. With the G7 his last major meeting with world leaders before the June 23 referendum, Cameron is expected to try to gain the endorsement of his peers.