Sarkozy seeks G8 summit on financial crisis

Sarkozy seeks G8 summit on financial crisis

Tokyo: France has made a formal proposal to Japan and other Group of Eight (G8) countries to hold an emergency G8 summit meeting to deal with the financial crisis, Japan’s Nikkei business daily reported on Tuesday.

A Japanese official said Tokyo was aware of the proposal by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been pressing for a summit of world leaders before year-end to overhaul the global financial system, but declined specific comment on it.

“We have heard through various channels the French president’s proposal to the effect that G8 leaders should have an emergency meeting in some format, either G8 or G8 plus outreach countries," a foreign ministry spokesman said. Outreach countries are non-G8 nations that are invited to attend its meetings.

“In our view, what is most important right now is to restore the confidence of the markets vis-a-vis the financial system so we intend to coordinate with other relevant partners from this perspective regarding French President Sarkozy’s proposal," the spokesman said.

The Nikkei, which did not cite sources, said Japan, which currently chairs the G8, would discuss the proposal with other members.

The crisis that began with US mortgage defaults last year is also washing up on Asian shores, pushing South Korea to call for emergency talks with Tokyo and Beijing, and forcing a policy easing from India.

G8 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia.

Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who has been cautious about France’s proposal, said on Tuesday that he would work closely with his counterparts from G7 - G8 minus Russia.

G7 finance ministers and central bank governors will hold talks on Friday in Washington.

“I’m racking my brains for what Japan can do, while collaborating with other members, because we have our own experiences from the past," Nakagawa told a news conference.

“I understand the G7 meeting comes at a time when we need to work more closely with other countries as well as the central bank domestically."