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Message from Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi

Date Posted: 2000-02-04

On 1st January, 2000, Japan assumed the Chair of the G8 Summit. For the duration of the year, Japan is charged with promoting policy coordination and cooperation among the G8 governments and the European Commission. We are also responsible for organizing the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in July.

The first Summit was held in 1975 to provide an opportunity for the leaders of the major industrial democracies to engage in a "fireside chat" concerning the management of the global economy in the wake of the first oil crisis. In the quarter century since then, the Summit has established itself as a highly meaningful forum for leaders of countries that not only hold common values but also have the will and capacity to guard those values to meet together and exercise their leadership in addressing pressing global issues in a direct and expeditious manner.

Helping to ensure that the G8 Summit continues to fulfill this role, the country that holds the Chair is expected to act as a coordinator between members and, at times, to take the lead in moving discussions forward. I am deeply conscious of the weight of the great responsibility of chairing a Summit. I would sincerely like to ask all Japanese people for their understanding and cooperation in making this key gathering a success.

The Kyushu-Okinawa Summit will be held in the milestone year of 2000 and will thus afford participants an opportunity to reflect on the Summit's role and reconfirm its unique value. We should further look to the agenda facing the world and the roles the Summit is expected to play in this new century and deliver a powerful message which will instill in the minds of people around the world the confidence that the 21st century will be a happier age for humankind and for our planet. Also, given that the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit is being held in Asia, an event which happens just once every eight years, I will bear in mind the interests and concerns of Asia in maintaining a global perspective.

The Kyushu-Okinawa Summit will be the first for Japan to host outside Tokyo. I believe that it will be a very good chance for people all over the world, through the efforts of G8 leaders and media representatives covering the events, to deepen understanding of Japan as a country of rich and diverse culture and the Japanese as a warm and hospitable people.

Keizo Obuchi
Prime Minister of Japan
(Source: Kyushu-Okinawa Summit official website)

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