What is the G7 and which country is hosting the G7 summit 2023?

Leaders of world's advanced economies gather to advocate for global peace and nuclear non-proliferation

A policeman patrols past the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima just days ahead of the arrival of leaders for the G7 Leaders' Summit. AFP
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On Friday, leaders of the G7 countries will assemble in Hiroshima, Japan, to discuss economic and geopolitical challenges.

The National takes a look back on the history of the exclusive club and its annual gathering, and looks ahead to its latest summit.

What is the G7 and which countries are in it?

The G7, or Group of Seven, is an organisation comprising the world's seven largest “advanced” economies that was formed in 1975.

Its aim was to share and form macroeconomic solutions to the economic problems of the day.

At that time the group was the G6, comprising founder members France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. A year later, it became the G7 when Canada was assimilated.

In 1998 the G7 became the G8 when Russia was welcomed into the fold. However, following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, Moscow was indefinitely suspended and the forum reverted to the G7.

Although it is not a country, the EU attends the G7 summit.

Every year, a different country assumes presidency of the group, with Japan the current holders.

What is the G7 summit and how many have been held?

Every year since its formation the leaders of the member countries have congregated to discuss the big global events of the day. At the end of the summit a statement is issued outlining the areas of agreement. Each member country takes it in turn to host the event.

The first official summit as the G7 was held in the US in 1976, with the group having met in France a year earlier as the G6, before Canada's inclusion.

This year will mark the 49th meeting of the G7, if its time as the G6 and G8 is included too.

Which country is hosting the 2023 G7 summit, when is it, and what will be discussed?

This year, the three-day summit is being at held in Hiroshima Sports Centre from May 19 to 21.

Hiroshima, which is home to more than two million residents, was devastated by a nuclear bomb in 1945 and has since been recognised globally as a city of peace.

The choice of venue underscores a determination to put nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at the top of the agenda of this year's summit.

Assembled leaders, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden, face some of the G7's most formidable challenges in years.

The leaders will also attempt to galvanise support for Ukraine as it attempts to retake territory lost to Russia following the invasion last year.

This year, the leaders of Australia, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam are invited, as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stresses the importance of reaching out to developing countries in the so-called Global South and US allies and partners.

A path to nuclear disarmament has appeared more difficult with Russia’s recent nuclear weapon threats in Ukraine, as well as nuclear and missile development by China and North Korea.

Mr Kishida on Friday will welcome arriving leaders at the Hiroshima Peace Park. He also plans to escort the leaders to the A-bomb museum, in the first group visit by heads of nuclear states. There may also be a meeting with atom bomb survivors.

Where was the 2022 G7 summit held and what was agreed?

Last year the three-day summit was held at Schloss Elmau, a castle retreat in the Bavarian Alps in Germany, from June 26 to June 28.

Germany took over the presidency of the group, six months after Angela Merkel was replaced as German chancellor by the Social Democratic Party's Olaf Scholz.

Other assembled leaders included UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Italian premier Mario Draghi, both of whom have since been replaced.

As well as the permanent G7 members, the leaders of Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa were invited as guests.

Why is China not in the G7?

China has never been a member, despite its powerful economy. It is not seen as an advanced economy due to its relatively lowly wealth per capita.

Beijing last year warned G7 leaders that a “small group” of countries no longer decided the fate of the world.

Updated: June 20, 2023, 10:25 AM