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Japan: Bloggers on food crisis feast, G8 over Skype?

The G8 Summit at Toyako, Hokkaido [ja], ended on June 9th after three days of meetings, leaving a bitter aftertaste for some bloggers in Japan. With a total cost for organization and security estimated as enough to treat millions of HIV patients, and protests by thousands of farmers and activists from around the world, the event was not without its controversy.

The G8 Summit - New CHITOSE airport (in Sapporo)
The G8 Summit – New CHITOSE airport (from Flickr user mujitra) CC-BY

Many bloggers questioned the high costs of the event, pointing out how environmentally unfriendly it was. Blogger gooorii, on the other hand, considered some of the outcomes of the G8 summit to have been positive:

何しろ討議する項目が山積しており、わずか3日間で各国のトップが話し合ってもなかなか纏まる話ではないと思うが、それでも「拉致問題」と言う文言が首脳宣言に載ったり、ジンバブエの不当な大統領選挙問題等にも共同声明のなかで、批判される事は国際的な見地から見た正しい意見として当事国にプレッシャーを与える事になり良いことだと思う。

With such a pile of issues to be discussed, state leaders can have discussions but I don't think that they will be able to come to a conclusion very easily. As a just viewpoint from an international perspective, the inclusion of the “abduction issue” in the Leaders’ Statement, and the condemnation of the illegitimate presidential election in Zimbabwe in a joint declaration, place pressure on the countries concerned, and this I think is a good thing.

今回の重要なテーマである、室温効果ガス問題では2日目のG8の中で討議され、福田さんは長期目標を2050年までに50%削減を決めたい意向であったが、アメリカの提案では、「大量排出国(中国・インド・ブラジル等)抜きの討議は無意味だ」と言う意見で賛成が得られなかった様で、私も当然の事であると思う。

The greenhouse gas issue, which was an important topic this time, was discussed by the G8 on the second day. Mr. Fukuda was hoping to set a longterm goal of a 50% reduction by 2050, but the U.S. suggested that “discussions without major CO2 producing countries (China, India, Brazil, etc) are pointless” and apparently he was not able to get approval from the U.S., which I think is obvious.

[...]

しかし、兎も角、削減努力に対する必要性は各国とも同じであるから3日目の会合こそ大量排出の当事国が、同じテーブルに就いて、話し合いが出来るスタートラインに揃ったところであると私は思うのである。

But in any case, the need for reduction measures is the same for each country, so I think that the mass CO2 producers meeting on the third day, sitting at the same table, will all be at the same starting line for beginning discussions.

The Oxfam G8 Big Heads at Big Letters Performance
The Oxfam G8 Big Heads at Big Letters Performance (from the Oxfam Flickr page) CC-BY-NC-ND

Blogger jg96aqkg, meanwhile, points out the irony of the G8 dinner:

環境問題、地球温暖化対策、原油高騰、食料危機、北朝鮮の核問題などなど話し合われたようですが凡人の私にはどのような実効性が有るのか全く分かりません。

Apparently subjects including environmental problems, countermeasures against global warming, the rise in petroleum prices, the food crisis and North Korea's nuclear problem were discussed, but as an ordinary person I have no idea what sort of effectiveness this will have.

あるメディアが食料危機の会議場で山ほど盛られた食膳に、あんなご馳走を食べて食料危機に餓えている人間の気持ちが理解できるのかと批判していました。

Some media criticized [the meeting], questioning whether they [the G8] understand the feelings of people who are suffering from hunger as [the G8 attendees] feast on food heaped on at tables in the conference venue where the food crisis was discussed.

各国を代表して出席しているのだからどんな贅沢な食事をしょうがどうでも良いことだが世界各国一人一人の命の尊厳が図られる形になって欲しいものです。

They are participating to represent their country so I couldn't care less what kind of luxurious meals they are eating, but I hope they will do this in a way that respects the dignity of life of every person in the world.

Challenge the G8 Peace Walk
Challenge the G8 Peace Walk (from Flickr user skasuga) CC-BY-NC-SA

Blogger mkj2 also picks up on the theme of the G8 feast, and writes:

各国の首脳が食べるディナーの話題。
地元の食材をふんだんに使ったメニューでカニだのアスパラだのいいもの使ってまっせっつー。

The story about the dinner that's going to be served for the leaders.
That there is going to be a lot of locally produced food on menu with good stuff like crab and asparagus.
[...]

別に食い物にいちゃもんつけてるわけじゃない。
食い物に始まり、警備だのなんだのに多額の血税が使われる。
それはいい。
世界のTOPが雁首そろえて諸問題を話し合うっていうんだから。

I am not really bitching about the food.
From the food to security and what not, a large amount of taxpayer's money is spent.
That itself is ok.
Because leaders from around the world are gathering and discussing various issues.

ただ。
頼むよほんと。
これだけの金かけて、手間かけて、ガソリンが安くならない、食品の値段が下がらない、なんてことになったらどう責任取るんだ。

But.
Please, for god's sake.
With so much money and effort put into it, if the gasoline prices do not go down, and the food prices do not go down, how are they going to take responsibility [for all of this]?

Toyako from the windsor hotel
Toyako from the windsor hotel (where the G8 Summit meetings were held, by Flickr user veroyama) CC-BY

Finally, blogger fookpaktsuen makes a novel proposal:

四国や九州からの警察の動員2万人余。……で地球温暖化が主要議題、ならこのサミット開催こそ「地球に優しくない」のが事実。もう国連活動に収斂されていいのでは? テロ襲撃が危険視されるなら各国首脳が一同に介せずSkypeで会議すれば良し。会場からほど遠き農牧地帯で120名のサミット反対デモにデモ参加者上回る数の警官が防備。異常。

Over 20,000 police officers were mobilized from Shikoku and Kyushu… and global warming is the main agenda, while the fact is that holding this summit is itself “earth-unfriendly”. Can't they just converge this within UN activities? If terrorist attacks are considered a threat, then instead of all state leaders getting together, it's better to have the meeting over Skype. The number of police on defense was larger than that of the 120 protesters in the anti-Summit demonstration, [which took place] in a rural area far away from the summit. It's absurd.

(For more pictures of the G8 protests, see pics at the account of Flickr user Powless.)

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