G-7 finance chiefs to gather online, antivirus steps on agenda

©Kyodo News

Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven industrialized economies will hold a teleconference Friday, with the agenda expected to include cooperation in addressing the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The online meeting by finance ministers and central bank governors is the first G-7 ministerial gathering in 2021, with Britain holding the group's presidency.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who took office following the inauguration of President Joe Biden on Jan. 20, will take part in the talks for the first time as a minister. She formerly headed the Federal Reserve, the country's central bank.

No joint statement is planned to be issued after the virtual conference, at which Finance Minister Taro Aso will represent Japan, according to Japanese officials.

The financial leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States plus the European Union are also expected to talk about new international taxation rules for globally operating technology firms and issues over central bank digital currencies, the officials said.

Among other topics that could be discussed at the meeting are measures against climate change and the debt relief program for developing nations mainly led by the Group of 20 major economies amid the pandemic, according to the officials.

Following the finance talks, there are plans for the G-7 leaders to hold their first video conference of the year, according to sources close to the matter. They are planning to hold a face-to-face summit from June 11 to 13 in Cornwall in southwestern Britain.

The British government said in December it has invited Australia, India and South Korea to the 2021 G-7 summit as guests.