Why Japan and the G7 must take notice of the Global South

With Japan set to host the Group of Seven summit in May in the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima, abolishing nuclear weapons will be one of the key agenda items, alongside various other issues.

The most pressing issue will be for G7 leaders to show their commitment to uniting and continuing to support Ukraine. However, the ties among G7 nations and the group’s global influence are not necessarily self-evident. Japan must make efforts to demonstrate these.

Growing significance of G7

In the past 40 years or so, the G7’s presence in the global economy has constantly been declining due to the stable economic growth of emerging countries in regions such as Asia and Africa.

The G7 countries occupied 61% of the global economy in 1980, but that proportion dropped to 43% in 2021.

Furthermore, among the Group of 20 nations, if you compare the combined gross domestic product of the G7 major industrialized countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — with the combined GDP of the so-called Emerging Seven (E7) countries — Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey — the G7 was 3.2 times bigger than the E7 in 2008 when the G20 was set up. But it is estimated that the GDP of the E7 will exceed that of the G7 in 2030.

The G7’s shrinking share of the global economy inevitably means the group’s influence will weaken.

However, it is also true that the value of the G7 is being recognized again.

This is because the U.N. Security Council is not functioning fully to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Moscow having veto powers over any resolution put to the U.N. as one of the five permanent members of the council.


Read the comment written by Yuichi Hosoya on Japan Times.