Japan's PM says fuel prices high on G8 agenda
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said on Sunday fuel prices would be high on the agenda at the G8 summit of industrialised nations he is set to host next month, along with the world food crisis and climate change.
Japan had long been planning to have the conference focus on the environment, but Fukuda noted the world economy was in a difficult state because of ballooning fuel prices.
Speaking after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Fukuda told reporters oil production should be raised and energy-saving technology introduced to try to bring prices under control.
"Sudden rises in oil prices are hitting not only the world economy, but ordinary people's lives," Fukuda told reporters. He said he hoped for a meaningful discussion of the problem at the G8 summit on the northern island of Hokkaido next month.
There should be production increases as well as better energy efficiency and use of alternative energy sources to try to restore the balance between supply and demand, he said.
"Oil prices are set by the market, so it is difficult to control them while ignoring market forces," Fukuda said.
Faced with a raft of domestic problems, Fukuda is on a tour of Europe to meet a series of G8 leaders ahead of next month's summit and try to push for a consensus on climate change policy as well as the food and fuel issues.
On Monday he heads to a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London and then on to the UN-backed food summit in Rome, on the sidelines of which he plans to hold talks with French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, Reuters reported.