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Message from Minister for Foreign Affairs Yohei Kono

By: Yohei Kono, Japanís Foreign Minister

Date Posted: 2000-02-12

The heads of the world's major industrial democracies gathered in November 1975 in the chateau at Rambouillet, on the outskirts of Paris, and held their first Summit to discuss the economic problems of the time. The annual Summits over the quarter century since then have shown directions for stable development of the world economy. They have also provided flexible, responsive opportunities for leaders to work together closely, exchanging opinions and coordinating policies in response to the world's economic and international political situations.

The Kyushu-Okinawa Summit will be the first hosted by Japan in seven years since the Tokyo Summit of 1993. I had the privilege to participate twice in the Summit process as Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, at Naples in 1994 and at Halifax in 1995. Since then, the Group of Eight framework, spurred by rapid changes in the international situation, has grown in scope and adopted a more active stance. We have witnessed this change in, among other things, its response to the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan and its efforts to resolve the problems in Kosovo.

At the upcoming Summit meeting, the twenty-sixth, the heads of the G8 nations will meet in the island prefecture of Okinawa; the meeting will be preceded by the Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Miyazaki and the Finance Ministers' Meeting in Fukuoka. As we consider the shape of the world in the upcoming century, it will be of great significance for the G8 nations, with their deep potential to influence international society, to send out a substantial message to the world from Kyushu and Okinawa in the milestone year of 2000.

The international community is focusing increasingly greater attention on Japan, which holds the G8 Presidency for the year 2000. As the chair of the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, I intend to take the initiative in various areas and make the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit a forum for participants to have fruitful discussions on the shape of the world into the twenty-first century.

The success of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit will require the generous understanding and cooperation of the people of Japan, including the residents of Okinawa and Kyushu; of the Asia-Pacific region in which Japan is located; and, indeed, of the entire world. It is my hope that this Website will contribute to enhanced understanding of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit and its goals. Thank you for taking the time to visit this site.

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