Activities of Secretary-General in Japan 18–21 May
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres departed New York to Hiroshima — via Tokyo — on Thursday, 18 May, to attend the Group of 7 Summit. He arrived in Hiroshima on Friday evening, 19 May.
On Saturday morning, the Secretary-General met with the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown. He then had an interview with the United Nations correspondent for Kyodo News. This was followed by a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese.
In the afternoon, the Secretary-General headed to the G7 Summit venue where he was welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He then participated in two outreach sessions. The first one was a working session of the G7 members with partner countries and international organizations, titled “Working together to Address Multiple Crises”. After the first session, a group photo was taken with G7 countries, partner countries and international organizations. After the photo, the Secretary-General took part in the working session titled “Common Endeavour for a Resilient and Sustainable Planet”.
The Secretary-General then had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Summit with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. This was followed by a social dinner at the Summit venue.
On Sunday morning, the Secretary-General visited the Peace Memorial Park along with partner countries, other heads of international organizations and Prime Minister Kishida. The Secretary-General laid a wreath to honour the memory of all the victims of the atomic bomb that was dropped in Hiroshima almost 78 years ago. He also signed a guest book at the Hiroshima Peace Museum.
After his visit, the Secretary-General gave an interview with Hiroshima TV in their studios.
Later that morning, the Secretary-General visited the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) premises in Hiroshima and met with staff members. He also filmed a video message for social media use, which was released that afternoon after the closing of the Summit.
In the afternoon, the Secretary-General held a bilateral meeting with the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He then had a press encounter at the International Conference Centre in which he stressed that rich countries cannot ignore the fact that more than half the world — the vast majority of countries — is suffering through a deep financial crisis. He added that recovery from the pandemic has been extremely unbalanced, with many middle-income countries not qualifying for concessional funding and having no access to debt relief. The Secretary-General underscored that this is the result of a global financial architecture that has become outdated, dysfunctional and unfair. He called for reform of the United Nations Security Council and the Bretton Woods institutions.
On climate change, he reiterated his call to G7 countries to reach net-zero emissions as close as possible to 2040 and for emerging economies to do so as close as possible to 2050.
After the press encounter, the Secretary-General met with Prime Minister Kishida before heading to the airport back to New York.