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ARCHIVED Is the West Back?: The G7 Summit and beyond, with Hiroyuki Akita and Gideon Rachman

Wednesday 30 June 2021 / 12:00pm
Is the West Back?: The G7 Summit and beyond, with Hiroyuki Akita and Gideon Rachman

Wednesday 30 June 2021
12.00 noon - 1.00pm (BST)
8.00pm – 9.00pm (JST)
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In an article for the FT on 13 June, its chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman suggested that the underlying message of the recent G7 summit might be ‘the west is back’. To examine this idea and what it might mean in the short and medium term for both the UK and Japan, Japan Society chairman Bill Emmott is joined by Gideon Rachman and Hiroyuki Akita, foreign affairs and security commentator for the Nikkei.

Many of the topics addressed by leaders at the summit were framed directly or indirectly against the backdrop of China’s increasing influence, particularly in the developing world. Notable among these was the launch of the Build Back Better World (B3W) Partnership seen as the West’s answer to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and pledges to donate one billion doses of vaccines to poor countries during 2021-22. Russia was also firmly on the agenda, criticised for its ‘irresponsible and destabilising behaviour’.  With four invited leaders from India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and followed immediately by a NATO summit on 14 June, before a meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin, the West demonstrated its solidarity at the first in-person events since the unpredictable and adversarial Trump years.

To quote a line from long-ago US election campaigns: Where’s the beef? What might this mean for the world as we face the challenges of COVID-19, climate change and the post pandemic economic recovery? How does it look from Tokyo and London, and how can Japan and the UK work together to support and develop the G7 agenda?

Hiroyuki Akita is a foreign affairs and international security commentator for Nikkei. He previously served as editorial staff writer, Washington chief correspondent, senior staff writer, and Beijing correspondent for Nikkei. His books include Turbulence: A record of three kingdoms – security in the US, China and Japan (乱流:米中日安全保障三国志Nikkei 2016) on how Japan is affected by shifts in the balance of power between the US and China. He was the recipient of the Vaughn-Uyeda Memorial International Journalistic Prize in 2018.

Gideon Rachman is chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times. Before joining the FT in 2006, Gideon worked for The Economist for 15 years in a range of roles, including as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Bangkok and Washington, and as business editor. His books include Zero-Sum World (Atlantic 2010) which examined the changing dynamics of international relations and, most recently, Easternization: Asia's Rise and America's Decline from Obama to Trump and Beyond (Other Press 2018), on how the growing wealth of Asia nations is transforming the international balance of power.

Gideon received the 2016 Orwell Prize for journalism, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, the 2016 European Press Prize: Commentator Award and the Overseas Press Club of America’s 2017 Best Commentary Award.

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