Possible upturn for Fukuda cabinet
The G8 summit will not only bring diplomatic benefits to Japan but offer a key chance to reverse the decline of support ratings for Prime Minister Fukuda's besieged cabinet.
Fukuda's support ratings have been shrinking over doubts about his ability to cope with a divided parliament, the Diet, which has delayed legislation and blocked key appointments, including road-related tax bills and the government's first two choices for Bank of Japan governor.
Whether Fukuda can push up approval ratings for his cabinet will largely depend on how much Japan achieves on its key proposals on greenhouse gas emissions reduction and African development, issues still deeply fraught with problems.
On the emissions issue, the sector-by-sector approach proposed by Japan to patch up the differences between developed and developing countries is yet to be widely recognized by developing countries or Japan's own energy-consuming industries.
Japan was also criticized at the TICAD IV for its unbalanced assistance, likely to add to the debt burden of African nations.
Under such circumstances, it is imperative for Fukuda to utilize Japan's close ties with industrialized and major developing countries as well as African nations, and coordinate with all parties concerned to reach a consensus.
Environmental, tourism showcase
With the summit drawing near, Japanese businesses are losing no time in promoting their energy-saving or environmentally friendly products to showcase their response to global warming, a key topic of the gathering.
Key Japanese carmakers including Toyota, Honda and Mazda have launched new fuel-cell cars and zero-emission electric vehicles, which will be exhibited during the summit, with trial rides offered to delegates from participating nations.
Some regional financial institutions, such as the Shiga Bank, will debut "environmentally friendly financial products" as the summit opens, to help fund enterprises committed to environmental protection.
The Japanese government also hopes to take advantage of the summit to promote tourism. As part of the promotion program, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony "chado" and flower arrangement "ikebana" will be performed in the areas adjoining the summit venue and at special booths promoting Japanese scenic spots and historical relics.
(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2008)