World leaders gather in Japan ahead of G7
ISE-SHIMA, Japan, May 25: (AFP) – World leaders began gathering in Japan Wednesday ahead of a Group of Seven summit set to be dominated by the lacklustre global economy.
The leaders were to make their way to Ise Shima, a mountainous and sparsely populated area 300 kilometres (200 miles) southwest of Tokyo, whose mainly elderly residents rely chiefly on tourism and cultured pearls.Security was tight across the region, with thousands of extra police drafted in to patrol train stations and ferry terminals, and to direct traffic on the usually quiet roads during the two-day meeting.
Tokyo said it was taking no chances in the wake of terror attacks that struck Paris and Brussels in recent months.
Dustbins have been removed or sealed and coin-operated lockers blocked at train and subway stations in the capital and areas around the venue site.Authorities said they will be keeping a close eye on so-called “soft targets” such as theatres and stadiums.
However, unlike in many other rich democracies, protests were unlikely to cause much of a security headache.One demonstration organised for Wednesday morning attracted just a handful of largely elderly protesters.
Among the arrivals expected later Wednesday was Britain’s David Cameron, whose country’s referendum next month on continued membership of the European Union was likely to figure prominently on the summit agenda.
Cameron was set for a one-on-one meeting later in the day with summit host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe was also due Wednesday to meet US President Barack Obama, whose visit to the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima on Friday threatened to overshadow the summit.