Japan and the G7/8: 1975 to 2002

Japan and the G7/8: 1975 to 2002

Japan and the G7/8: 1975 to 2002

Japan and the G7/8: 1975 to 2002

Synopsis

Analyses Japan's international relations and participation in the multilateral forum, the G8, since its creation in 1975. The author explores the motivation of the Japanese government and non-governmental actors' aims and objectives, and examines how and to what extent they have been achieved.

Excerpt

The origins of the summit

The G7/8 summit provides both a historical snapshot of just over a quarter-century of international relations and also a framework by which to structure and make sense of these relations. It is also one of the many mechanisms in a constantly evolving network of global governance although, unlike most other mechanisms and because of its inchoate nature, what kind of entity the G7/8 is and how it contributes to the provision of global governance are questions far from readily agreed upon in the extant literature. Despite the claim that 'economic summitry is like sexual intercourse; unless you've done it, it's pretty hard to describe' (Hunt and Owen 1984:659), the summit's origins and the way in which it functions need to be understood first and foremost. To this end, until the late 1990s there was only one main study of the history and role of the summit (Putnam and Bayne 1984; revised and enlarged as Putnam and Bayne 1987). However, in recent years the G7/8 summit process has begun to receive considerable attention, thanks largely to Ashgate's G8 and Global Governance series (Hajnal 1999; Hodges et al. 1999; Bayne 2000; Kaiser et al. 2000; Gardner and Stefanova 2001; Kirton and Von Furstenberg 2001; Kirton et al. 2001; Cohn 2002; Kirton and Takase 2002; Bayne and Woolcock 2003; Kirton and Stefanova 2004), its Global Finance series (Fratianni et al. 2002; Fratianni et al. 2003), and a contribution in the Adelphi Papers' series issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (Penttilä 2003). Through these contributions, a more nuanced understanding of the history, documentation, nature, evolution and future of the summit process has been expounded.

The G7/8 first met as the G6 (France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom (UK), United States (US) and West Germany) in November 1975 at the château of Rambouillet in France to discuss the state of their economies and foster policy coordination. This first meeting found its origins in an informal gathering of the French, West German, uk and us finance ministers in the White House library in March 1973, later joined by Japan, to discuss the state of the international monetary system (Smyser 1993:15-16). the impetus behind the meeting at Rambouillet was 'to recreate at the highest level the same sort of direct and informal exchange' that had been nurtured within this 'Library Group' (Hunt and Owen 1984:658). According to Sir

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