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What Did the Hiroshima G7 Summit Accomplish?

Three clear winners emerged from the Hiroshima G7 Summit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received a powerful demonstration of the continuing solidarity between the G7 and Ukraine; the G7's determination to punish Russia was reaffirmed; and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida strengthened his support among the Japanese public.

TOKYO – Geopolitics dominated the just-concluded G7 summit in Hiroshima, where the most prominent participant was not a G7 leader, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The leader of a country under threat of Russian nuclear attack visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial was the summit’s pivotal moment.

The choice of Hiroshima to host the summit was important for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for two reasons. First, Kishida’s constituency is in Hiroshima. Hosting one of the most prominent international events in his hometown will boost his popularity there. Second, bringing world leaders to the city where the first atomic bomb was used is important for any Japanese politician, and resonates even more when Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats are still echoing.

Kishida’s popularity had been declining since the start of his premiership in October 2021. His economic policy packages, such as “new capitalism” and “digital garden city,” have had only a lukewarm reception. Between July 2022 and January 2023, his approval rating plummeted from 59% to 33%, before rebounding to 46% in May 2023 as the summit approached.