The G20 has been mired in an ongoing crisis for years. After the G20, newly formed ten years ago at the level of heads of state and government, initially overcame the economic and financial crisis more or less successfully, the question quickly arose as to its role beyond reacting to crisis. Instead of taking on a proactive role as a strategic steering committee for the global economy, driving reforms and ensuring the provision of global public goods (such as climate protection and free trade), the G20 proceeded to jump from one issue to the next. The fact that its presidency changes every year has contributed to this ‘issue hopping’.
We hosted a one-day international conference at Soka University in Tokyo on December 10, 2018, on the theme “Prospects and Possibilities for Japan’s 2019 G20 Osaka Summit.” This was held shortly after the inauguration of the Japanese Presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20), which will be compressed by holding an early summit, on 28-29 June 2019. Conference participants stressed their doubts about the capacities of the G20 to meet contemporary global governance challenges, especially due to failures to implement previous summit commitments and the growing tensions between members. They emphasized the important role of stakeholders in holding the G20 to account, by focusing on policy compliance and implementation.