G-7 latest: Biden’s, other leaders’ Hiroshima memorial messages released

HIROSHIMA, Japan — World leaders are gathering at the Group of Seven summit in the western Japanese city of Hiroshima over the next few days.

Joining the seven nations and the European Union will be several significant Asia-Pacific countries — notably India, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia.

The talks in Hiroshima are likely to focus on the Ukraine war, the growing dominance of China and the threat to Taiwan. Related to this are issues surrounding supply chains, and economic and energy security. Plus, the attendance of India — a country that chairs the G-20 this year — is likely to shine a spotlight on the so-called Global South, or developing world.

For the latest on this important gathering, see our G-7 in Japan coverage.

Here are some recent stories:

Japan’s G-7 test: Kishida pushes active foreign policy onto global stage

China to convene Central Asian leaders to counter G-7 summit

G-7 set for a show of resolve in Hiroshima: 5 things to know

G-7 draft statement to tackle Russia’s sanction-evading partners

Why Japan’s Kishida chose Hiroshima as the G-7 venue

From India to Indonesia, G-7 invitees aim to be heard in Hiroshima

And here’s the latest (Japan time):

Saturday, May 20

1:25 p.m. Meanwhile, Modi is busy holding his own meetings. He has a chat with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, another invitee to the summit.

12:45 p.m. The readout of Kishida’s meeting with Lula says they spoke for about an hour.

The two leaders “exchanged views” on the situations in Ukraine and East Asia, it says. They reaffirmed the importance of fundamental values such as freedom and democracy, and concurred that they would work together to maintain and strengthen an international order based on the rule of law.

Lula has drawn attention for past comments on Ukraine, suggesting the West is partly to blame for prolonging the conflict. On his recent visit to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, he also called for a shift away from dollar-denominated trade and challenged the dominance of Western-led financial institutions.

Meanwhile, Lula and Kishida shared the view that Japan and Brazil would work together to lead Security Council reform this year, when both countries serve as non-permanent members. Reform of the body was something India’s Modi touched on in an interview with Nikkei Asia as well.

Otherwise, the Japanese and Brazilian leaders discussed bilateral matters such as trade, investment and a Japanese yen loan. Kishida also said Japan would “initiate procedures” toward a short-term visa exemption for Brazilian passport holders. In March, Lula’s government said Brazil would reinstate visa requirements for visitors from Japan as well as the U.S., Canada and Australia, citing a lack of reciprocal exemptions.

11:40 a.m. Japan has released the guest book messages the leaders wrote at the Peace Memorial Museum on Friday.

Fumio Kishida (Japan): As Chair of the G-7, I am gathering here together with the leaders of G-7 countries on this historic occasion of the G-7 Summit to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

Emmanuel Macron (France): Avec émotion et compassion, il nous appartient de contribuer au devoir de mémoire des victimes d’Hiroshima et d’agir en faveur de la paix, seul combat qui mérite d’être mené.

Joe Biden (U.S.): May the stories of this museum remind us all of our obligations to build a future of peace. Together — let us continue to make progress toward the day when we can finally and forever rid the world of nuclear weapons. Keep the faith!

Justin Trudeau (Canada): Canada pays solemn tribute to the many lives lost, the unspeakable grief of the Hibakusha, and the immense suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Votre histoire restera à jamais gravée dans notre conscience collective.

Olaf Scholz (Germany): Dieser Ort erinnert an unfassbares Leid. Heute erneuern wir hier gemeinsam mit unseren Partnern das Versprechen, Frieden und Freiheit mit aller Entschlossenheit zu schützen. Ein nuklearer Krieg darf nie wieder geführt werden.

Giorgia Meloni (Italy): Oggi ci fermiamo e restiamo in preghiera. Oggi ricordiamo che l’oscurità non ha avuto la meglio. Oggi ricordiamo il passato per costruire, insieme, un futuro di speranza.

Rishi Sunak (U.K.): Shakespeare tells us to “give sorrow words”. Yet language fails in the light of the bomb’s flash. No words can describe the horror and suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what we can say, with all our hearts, and all our souls, is no more.

Charles Michel (European Council): An immense tragedy took place here almost 80 years ago. It reminds us what we — as G-7 — are defending. And why we are defending it. Peace and freedom. Because it’s what all human beings want most.

Ursula von der Leyen (European Commission): What happened in Hiroshima is still today haunting humanity. It is a stark reminder of the terrible cost of war — and our everlasting duty to protect and preserve peace.

10:50 a.m. Japan releases readouts of Kishida’s meetings with Modi and Widodo.

The Japanese prime minster explained to Modi how the G-7 summit would proceed, emphasizing respect for the U.N. Charter and the rule of law. They shared a view that it is important for a broad range of partners to work together to address the challenges facing the international community, and agreed to work together for peace and a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Similar points were echoed in the Widodo meeting. They also discussed issues crucial to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, such as the crisis in Myanmar, while Kishida expressed his intention to support Indonesia’s capital relocation plan.

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10:20 a.m. Starting his meeting with Lula this morning, Kishida told the Brazilian leader: “As the world faces multiple crises, it is critical that we work with a broad range of partners to address the challenges facing the international community, such as climate, food, development, peace and stability.”

Lula said he never thought he would come to Hiroshima, “since it is a little far away,” noting he spent 26 hours in the plane.

But he said he wants to reinforce ties between Japan and Brazil.

“Since 1908, many Japanese have worked for the development of Brazil. In addition many Japanese companies have invested in Brazil,” he said. “I believe that our relationship can be further developed in the future.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida welcomes Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva before their meeting in Hiroshima on May 20. (Pool photo)

10:00 a.m. After his early-morning meeting with Kishida, India’s Modi unveils a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Hiroshima.

9:30 a.m. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially announces the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

It says Zelenskyy will participate in a face-to-face session with the G-7 leaders on Sunday. He will also be a guest at a session on peace and stability with the G-7 leaders and those from invited countries. Kishida and the Ukrainian president will hold a bilateral as well.

9:00 a.m. After meeting with Modi, Kishida has a bilateral with Indonesia’s Joko Widodo, followed by Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meets with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on May 20.

  © Pool photo

8:40 a.m. A spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs says Modi and Kishida talked about the Global South and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

7:39 a.m. Today’s meetings get underway as the host Kishida sits down with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived Friday evening. The two continue to tighten their relationship after Kishida visited India in March.

Friday, May 19

10:05 p.m. The White House says the leaders of the Quad — U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese — will hold their own meeting in Hiroshima on Saturday. The planned talks on the sidelines of the G-7 replace a summit that was to be held in Sydney next week — canceled due to Biden shortening his trip.

9:10 p.m. Ukraine’s Zelenskyy, speaking in Saudi Arabia before his planned trip to the G-7, makes “a direct appeal from here to protect the Ukrainian people.”

“We must unite to save the Ukrainians from Russian aggression and illegal annexations by Russia,” he tells the Arab League Summit. “I thank Saudi Arabia for its respectful position, that the Ukrainian people are the people of true peace.”

8:15 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has touched down in Hiroshima. He spoke with Nikkei Asia in New Delhi before his departure for Japan.

7:10 p.m. The G-7 leaders visit Itsukushima Shrine, one of Japan’s most popular landmarks, with its torii gate that appears to float at high tide. Unlike the dreary morning weather, the setting sun peeks out from behind the clouds, providing a picturesque backdrop.

7:00 p.m. Meanwhile, a Chinese diplomat touches on the G-7 during a media briefing in Jakarta. China doesn’t have “any intention to dominate” the global supply chain for the clean energy transition, Li An, minister counselor for China’s mission to ASEAN, says when asked about G-7 concerns over his country’s control of critical minerals. “China never takes any policies to dominate … any supply chain. We actually advocate openness and transparency, and also multilateralism,” Li says, adding the remarks are his “personal view.”

6:51 p.m. Zelenskyy has landed in Jeddah, Reuters reports citing local TV. He is expected to appear at the Arab League Summit there before continuing on to Hiroshima.

6:35 p.m. A French government plane is carrying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia before flying on to Hiroshima for the G-7, Reuters reports, citing an anonymous source.

6:15 p.m. While Ukraine has been and looks likely to continue to be the focus of the summit, a human rights group has sent a reminder to the G-7 of humanitarian crises and repressive governments in Southeast Asia. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, a group founded by progressive lawmakers across the ASEAN bloc, urges G-7 leaders in an open letter to “take swift and firm measures” against the military regime in Myanmar. They also call out Cambodia.

6:05 p.m. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made his own trip to the atomic bomb memorial earlier on Friday, tweeting that he wanted the first thing he did after arriving in Japan to be something that reminded him of why he came — “why working together to secure peace for the region and the world is so important.”

The Australian leader, one of the invitees to the summit, also said he met with another leader from outside the G-7 — Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

5:48 p.m. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has landed in Japan, bringing another voice from emerging Asian economies.

4:30 p.m. The G-7 leaders release a statement on Ukraine, stressing that their support for the embattled country “will not waver” and vowing “new steps” to ensure Russia’s aggression fails. They also stress that peace means a full withdrawal of Russian forces.

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“We underline that a just peace cannot be realized without the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops and military equipment, and this must be included in any call for peace,” the statement says.

The leaders promise to continue security assistance for Ukraine, tailored to its needs, and to “further restrict” Russia’s economic access. “We will broaden our actions to ensure that exports of all items critical to Russia’s aggression including those used by Russia on the battlefield are restricted across all our jurisdictions.”

At the same time, they promise to shield agricultural, medical and humanitarian products from the restrictions “to avoid potential spillover impacts on third countries,” while supporting vulnerable nations.

A missile explosion is seen over Kyiv during a Russian strike on May 18.

  © Reuters

On reconstruction, the statement says the G-7 will work to ensure that Russia pays for the damage it has caused. “We reaffirm that, consistent with our respective legal systems, Russia’s sovereign assets in our jurisdictions will remain immobilized” until that time.

They single out diamonds, promising to work closely to restrict Russia’s trade of the precious gems.

3:58 p.m. Leaders attend a working lunch.

  © Pool photo

Taking part in the working lunch were U.S. President Joe Biden, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

3:55 p.m. As he departed for the G-7 Summit in Hiroshima, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he would bring the perspective of developing countries from the Global South to the gathering of major economies.

Japan, the host nation, invited Indonesia to attend the event as a guest, in what will be the country’s second time taking part in a G-7 Summit. Widodo said that while in Hiroshima he would convey the position of ASEAN on key issues, including the conflict in Myanmar.

Hiroshima, which was the site of an atomic bombing in 1945, is now a symbol of peace, Widodo said.

1:44 p.m. G-7 leaders begin working lunch focused on the global economy.

12:30 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the G-7 summit in person on Sunday, according to the Financial Times and other reports citing sources familiar with the plans. The embattled leader aims to shore up support from the group of wealthy democracies against Russia’s invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continues to seek international support for fending off Russia’s invasion.

  © AP

11:00 a.m. The leaders are visiting the atomic bomb memorial as the official Day One gets underway. Prime Minister Kishida greets them one by one outside the museum, stopping to pose for photos before ushering them into the building.

Inside the museum, Kishida explained the exhibits and the G-7 leaders talked with 85-year-old atomic bomb survivor Keiko Ogura, according to the Japanese government. Their visit lasted for about 40 minutes. After leaving the museum, the leaders walked to the cenotaph for the bomb victims at the park and laid floral wreaths.

9:25 a.m. In the opening remarks of their bilateral meeting, Kishida told French President Emmanuel Macron that France was a “special partner” of Japan. Macron praised Japan for making a “hard decision” of Ukraine, stressing that it is “necessary for the G7 to show that we are working together and that we are continuing to do so.”

9:20 a.m. Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hold a roughly 40-minute meeting. They agree to continue to cooperate on supporting Ukraine and sanctioning Russia over the war. They also firm up their determination to maintain a free and open international order base on the rule of law.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Hiroshima on May 19. (Pool photo) 

“Fumio-san, I look forward to working with you both here at the G-7 and outside of the G-7,” Scholz says.

The two leaders also exchange views on the situation in East Asia and confirm that they will continue to work closely in dealing with issues concerning China and North Korea, including Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs and past abductions of Japanese citizens.

8:45 a.m. Kishida met for 30 minutes with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. According to a readout from Japan’s foreign ministry, the two leaders concurred they will continue close coordination in addressing issues related to China and responding to North Korea including the nuclear and missiles issue.

They confirmed that the G-7 will continue to coordinate closely to impose sanctions against Russia and provide support for Ukraine

A G-7 monument placed in the Hiroshima Peace Park. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

Thursday, May 18

9:55 p.m. G-7 leaders will hold a session on Ukraine among themselves on Friday afternoon, Japan’s Foreign Ministry says. A separate session will be held Sunday morning with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attending online, the ministry says.

9:10 p.m. Biden and Kishida “affirmed their resolve to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia’s brutal and unlawful invasion,” the White House says in a readout of the U.S. and Japanese leaders’ bilateral meeting in Hiroshima.

The news release says they also talked about North Korea’s weapons programs and “coercive behavior” by China that “runs counter to international law.”

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“The two leaders underscored their opposition to any attempts to change the status quo by force, and reiterated their resolve to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the White House says.

8:30 p.m. Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra tells reporters, “We are planning a Quad leaders’ meeting in Hiroshima.” This would fill in for the Quad summit in Sydney that was to be held next week, but was canceled after Biden decided to cut his trip short.

Briefing the media before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Hiroshima from Friday to Sunday, Kwatra adds that all the Quad countries — India, Japan, Australia and the U.S. — are trying to make use of their leaders’ presence at the G-7 to arrange their own summit on the sidelines. He says that if the meeting goes ahead, areas such as maritime domain awareness, developmental cooperation and further cooperation in the Indo-Pacific would be discussed.

7:55 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the U.K.’s Rishi Sunak begin a working dinner, as the two countries look to boost cooperation in semiconductors and other areas.

They’re dining at a tofu kaiseki restaurant. Kishida greets the British prime minister by his first name, “Oh, Rishi!”

Sunak pulls up his trousers to show Kishida his pair of red socks with the logo of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shows his Hiroshima Carp baseball socks to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after arriving in Hiroshima for the G-7 Summit. (Photo courtesy of No. 10 Downing Street)

7:25 p.m. In opening remarks, Biden said that the two countries face one of the most complex security environments in recent history. “When our countries stand together, we stand stronger, and I believe the whole world is safer when we do,” he said.

Kishida said he was very happy to receive “Joe” in Hiroshima. “The Japan-U.S. alliance is the bedrock of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” he said, adding that the bilateral relationship is advancing in leaps and bounds, not only in security but in various fields.

Kishida welcomed an investment in Hiroshima by U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology and that the Japanese government will steadfastly support it as a good example of Japan-U.S. semiconductor cooperation.

6:20 p.m. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will hold a bilateral summit on Sunday, in addition to a trilateral meeting the same day with U.S. President Joe Biden, Yoon’s office announces.

This will be the two leaders’ third bilateral summit since March, following meetings in Tokyo and Seoul. Yoon took office last year and has made diplomatic rapprochement with Japan a key foreign policy objective, arguing that the two U.S. allies ought to cooperate toward shared economic and security interests.

Seoul-Tokyo ties have for decades been plagued by disagreements over World War II-era history. On Sunday, Yoon and Kishida are also set to make a joint visit to the memorial in Hiroshima to those who lost their lives in the 1945 atomic bombing of the city, which includes an installment dedicated to Korean victims.

South Korea is not a G-7 member state but was invited by Japan to attend as a guest. While in Hiroshima, Yoon will also hold bilateral meetings on Friday with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. He will then hold bilateral summits on Saturday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

6:00 p.m. Kishida and Biden shake hands and pose for photos before moving to a meeting room at the Rihga Royal Hotel in Hiroshima. They take their seats at a long table, flanked by their aides.

5:09 p.m. Biden lands in Hiroshima, emerging from his helicopter and hopping into the Beast, as the presidential car is known. The motorcade starts rolling a few minutes later, taking him to a bilateral meeting with Japan’s Kishida.

Traveling with the president’s motorcade are Rahm Emmanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, and a host of other officials.

4:17 p.m. Kishida and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni begin bilateral talks in Hiroshima.

4:05 p.m. Biden arrives in the rain at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

3:00 p.m. Japan’s Ministry of Defense announced that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak inspected the Izumo, a helicopter carrier being transformed into a light aircraft carrier. The ministry said the visit “symbolizes the close and strong relationship between Japan and the U.K.”

1:00 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden will arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on Thursday afternoon, the White House announces. He will then head by helicopter to Hiroshima, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Kishida.

Other leaders are expected to arrive later Thursday.

12:10 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives in Hiroshima.

Police begin to restrict entry into Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will lead several events at the park, located at the center of the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, including greeting the leaders there on Friday.

11:00 a.m. As leaders of rich democracies gather in Hiroshima, China is this week hosting its first face-to-face summit meeting with the leaders of five Central Asian countries in Xi’an.

Wednesday, May 17

6:00 p.m. Nikkei Asia hosts a panel on what leaders are likely to discuss at the G-7 summit. Watch a video of the webinar.


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