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From Genoa 2001 to Kananaskis 2002

Country Performance Assessment

Overall Grade: B+

Objective 1: Economic Growth and Reform

Prime Minister Koizumi succeeded in appearing in control of his country's economy. In addition to announcing economic reforms on June 25, the day before the summit, Koizumi's government was able to keep foreign exchange issues off the agenda. This is despite regular Japanese government interventions on the currency markets.

In all of his bilateral meetings with G8 leaders, the Prime Minister assured the other leaders that his government would continue to institute reforms- even though these policies would dampen his popularity. In his final press conference Koizumi claimed that the other leaders expressed satisfaction with the progress of his reforms. They agreed that the Japanese recession has 'bottomed out' and that his tax reform and deregulation efforts were making headway. The Prime Minister quoted first quarter GDP growth figures of nearly 6%(annualized) and therefore showed the G8 that he is steward of an imminent recovery.

Objective 2: Japanese-Russian Relations

Although there have been no major breakthroughs in the dispute over the four northern islands occupied by Russia, bilateral relations appear to have reached a new high. Japan's acquiescence to Russia taking their turn in the hosting cycle in 2006 pointed to the prospect that cooperation between these two countries will only increase.1

At Vladimir Putin's invitation, Prime Minister Koizumi has announced that he will make a State visit to Russia next December or January. In the meantime, he has also arranged for high- level meetings (including foreign ministers) and continued cooperation on a variety of issues. In particular, Japan and Russia agreed that North Korea is a mutual concern and that its weapons of mass destruction have destabilized the region.

Although there was progress in Japanese-Russian relations generally, Koizumi made only vague mention of the territorial dispute at his final press briefing. In order to secure a settlement for this dispute, much work is still necessary.

Objective 3: Kyoto

After having just ratified the Kyoto protocol in early June, Japan had a particular interest in seeing other G8 partners adopt the agreement. Yet this subject was not substantially addressed on the agenda. The Chair's statement points to the problem of climate change but suggests no particular course of action.


Prepared by Jacob Young
University of Toronto G8 Research Group
July 2002

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