Japan PM says ready to call G8 summit on crisis

Japan PM says ready to call G8 summit on crisis


Tokyo: Japanese Premier Taro Aso, chair of the Group of Eight rich nations, said Friday he would call an emergency G8 summit if finance chiefs meeting in Washington do not reach a deal on the global credit crisis.

Japan is the chair this year of the G8, which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. The G8 leaders held their regular annual summit in northern Japan in July.

Finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the G7 -- the G8 club minus Russia -- are due to meet in Washington later Friday as stock markets around the world plunge in the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression.

The G7 meeting in Washington will also include a wider G20 meeting which includes financial leaders of other major economies including Russia, China and India.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thursday said that US President George W. Bush had sounded him out about a G8 summit on Tuesday.

The White House denied a summit would take place Tuesday but said Bush was open to the idea of leaders meeting. Berlusconi is scheduled to visit Washington next week.

The two Democratic leaders of Congress appealed to Bush to convene a G8 summit to resolve the crisis, saying in a joint statement, “The American people and the world are looking to the United States for leadership."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said earlier this week that London was also talking to G7 and G20 nations about a meeting of heads of government.

“Countries are tested in difficult times. These problems certainly started in the United States of America but they are having a big impact on our and on others’ financial systems," Brown said.

Aso took office little more than two weeks ago and has hoped to show himself as a decisive leader ahead of upcoming general elections. His predecessor Yasuo Fukuda hosted the July 7-9 G8 summit in the hot-spring resort of Toyako.