Osaka is on the high alert, over 32000 police officers have come to the venue of the G20 summit from all over the country and many main traffic routes into the city are in lockdown. All public school students have two days off and residents are asked to refrain from using cars and going out if not necessary, in the major stations, coin lockers and garbage bins are sealed off to counter terrorist attacks and security is ramped up at key locations close to where the heads of state will be staying.
“I'm from Osaka and I really hope that everything goes down safely. I'm proud to have the G-20 summit here”
“The sirens are a bit much. I have a young child. My baby hasn't been able to take a proper nap in a while.”
Usually bustling attractions like parts of Osaka Castle Park and the inside of the castle are closed off to the public, since part of the summit is to be held inside the grounds.
“country to the G20 summits held in Argentina and Germany in the last year. They haven't been any major protests here in Osaka. I've talked to organizers of a protest on Sunday and they estimated that only about 200 people came. And that's compared to thousands in Argentina last year and tens of thousands in Hamburg, in Germany in 2017.”
Overall, the city is expecting 30000 visitors over the course of the weekend.
“All right. I'm joined now by DW correspondent Max Hoffman, who is in Osaka, Japan, covering the summit there Max. Lot of ground to be covered by the world leaders there. What can we expect from this summit?”
“Indeed, a lot of ground to be covered in traditionally, you know, these G20 summits are about promoting multi lateral trade. And the main instrument to do that is a declaration that the leaders need to accept at the end, and that is prepared by so-called Sherpas. They've been doing that now since Sunday here in Osaka and we are hearing things aren't going too well, although the Japanese presidency is really trying to put the focus on those topics that are afterwards in the declaration. There are so many important topics on the sidelines. Just take Iran, for example, or the Chinese American trade conflict, that the Japanese presidency indeed is afraid that all the attention will be steered away from their focus. And maybe that in the end, there won't even be a declaration on the table. At least the last G20 summits, for example, one is IRI's at the end of last year, have always been extremely difficult because of that.”
“All right. Well, let's talk about President Trump, of course. All eyes on him during G20 summits like the one in Osaka. Right now, he's often been at odds with other leaders who were there. Is there a sense that he will dominate this summit as well?”
“ Well, so far, he's already twitted, a couple of things that are worrisome for some of the countries hit. The bottom line of what he's always saying, it's always been the same message really is that America is being treated unfairly by its trade partners. And the latest victim of one of the twitters here was, was India. But also Germany is also mentioned in these and the G20 summits where I have been with Donald Trump Indeed. He's always managed to overshadow this hard work, which is not as offensive maybe to some as what Trump does in his twitter. So there's a real danger here that the same thing will happen, especially because you have the two biggest economies in the world, the United States of America and China, teetering on the edge of a full blown trade war.”
“All right. And I just have a 20 seconds left to iMacs. So what are the chances that the Chinese and American leaders will overcome their differences during this G-20 summit in Osaka?”
“They'll have a bilateral meeting on Saturday. President Xi of China, President Trump of the United States. Some have said we've had media reports that Trump is ready to have a truce there and back off of additional tariffs that he wanted to slap on Chinese goods. But you can never be really. Be sure. Just take the last summit, born as IRI's. After that, he was very positive. He said China and the U.S. would work out a deal. But then really exactly the opposite happened. So in this case, it's really not the words that count, but the work that's done afterwards and the actual agreement that might or maybe not be negotiated.”