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Vol 1 (AAC) No 8

Published 1st June 2008

Here comes Hokkaido

Africa policy on aid and commerce is central to Tokyo's diplomatic overhaul this year, as regional rivalries grow

In many ways, the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama on 28-30 May was a dry run for Tokyo's Group of 8 summit in Hokkaido on 7-9 July. Much of the G8 agenda - climate change, global financial imbalances, food and fuel price crises as well as Africa policy - was rehearsed at TICAD IV. For Tokyo's diplomatic corps, the challenge was to prove that Japan could give a lead on Africa and climate change at the Hokkaido summit this year and into the future. Although it is still the world's second biggest economy in nominal terms - third, behind China, in terms of purchasing power parity - Japan punches well below its weight in the international system, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

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