Where is the G7 summit 2023 taking place, who is attending, and what are the key issues?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is representing the UK at the G7 summit  (Peter Nicholls / PA Wire)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is representing the UK at the G7 summit (Peter Nicholls / PA Wire)

Two nations that weren't even invited to Hiroshima this year — China and Russia — will cast the biggest shadows at the Group of Seven (G7) leaders' summit at the weekend.

The leaders started to arrive on Thursday, in preparation for a visit to the city's Peace Memorial Museum on Saturday, May 20.

The museum has exhibits that illustrate the scope of the tragedy that developed after the US dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan on the morning of August 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people by the end of the year.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his goal for "a world without nuclear weapons" in the lead-up to the summit, but activists point out that Japan, a country under the US nuclear umbrella, has yet to ratify a 2021 UN treaty outlawing the possession and use of nuclear weapons.

Regarding the group's scheduled visit to the peace museum, Kishida said: “I believe the first step towards any nuclear disarmament effort is to provide a first-hand experience of the consequences of the atomic bombing and to firmly convey the reality.”

Here is everything you need to know, from what it is, to where it’s being held, and what you can expect.

What is the G7 summit?

The G7 is an organisation of the world’s seven largest so-called “advanced” economies, which dominate global trade and the international financial system. This list includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Russia joined the group in 1998, but was excluded in 2014 for its takeover of Crimea.

Every year since the 1970s, the leaders of these countries have gathered to discuss the most pressing global issues, with this year marking the 47th meeting of the G7.

At the end of the summit, a statement of intent is issued, outlining what’s been agreed.

Where is the G7 summit held?

Each year, each member country of the G7 takes its turn to host the G7 summit and take on the year-long presidency.

This year, Japan is hosting the G7 summit and is taking over the presidency, with the event taking place from May 19 to 21, at Hiroshima.

Does the G7 have any power?

The G7 can’t pass any laws, because it is made up of separate nations with their own democratic processes; however, some of its past decisions have had global effects.

For example, the G7 played a crucial role in setting up a global fund to fight malaria and Aids in 2002 and, ahead of the 2021 G7 summit in the UK, the G7 finance ministers agreed to make multinational companies pay more tax.

It also provided financial aid to developing countries as well as addressing climate change.

Who is attending the 2023 G7 summit?

  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, United Kingdom

  • Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Germany

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada

  • President Emmanuel Macron, France

  • Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Italy

  • Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Japan

  • President Joe Biden, United States

  • Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

  • Charles Michel, President of the European Council

Invited countries include:

  • Australia

  • Brazil

  • Comoros (African Union Chair)

  • Cook Islands

  • India

  • Indonesia

  • Korea

  • Vietnam

What are the key issues for the G7 summit 2023?

During the summit in Hiroshima, the location of the first atomic bombing in history, Kishida aims to draw attention to the dangers of nuclear proliferation.

The close proximity of North Korea, its recent missile tests, and Russia's threats to use nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine have all contributed to the possibility of another nuclear attack. By 2035, China's nuclear arsenal is expected to have increased from an estimated 400 warheads to 1,500, according to projections from the Pentagon.

Leaders will be highly concerned about the health of the global economy, price increases, and the US debt limit crisis.