Japan set to give hearty welcome to G8

Japan is preparing to showcase its country to G8 leaders at their annual summit, being held in Toyako from Monday. Construction workers are completing a road to the isolated venue, near Sapporo, and a local hotel has been upgraded for summit guests.

The town’s five-star Windsor Toya hotel is now undergoing its finishing touches, as staff get ready to meet their VIP guests.

There is one presidential suite and about ten regular suites in the hotel. A standard suite costs $US 1200. Eighty metres long, it has two rooms – both with a single glass wall overlooking the Toya lake.

The hotel’s cuisine is another reason for managers to be proud.

“This is one of our five gastronomic restaurants offering five different national cuisines. All of them will be available for our guests to dine in. This one serves great teppanyaki cooked in our very own style. Prices are OK: an average bill rarely exceeds $US 100,” explains restaurant manager Maiko Yamamoto.

And for some after-lunch fun, electro-cars are on stand-by to be used as potential presidential toys.

Locals have been preparing themselves for the G8 summit too. Many hope it can boost the region’s economy driving officials, press, and simply the curious to Toyako.

In a nearby shop a special G8 sweet was prepared to greet the summit guests. Shop owner Akiro Wakasaimo hopes that the leaders and journalists will have the sweetest memories of the summit.

The Japanese national television station, NHK, has big plans on how to broadcast the event. They will be using state-of-the-art TV technology, such as matrix-like 180 degree digital cameras. NHK says they’ll use all of their resources – TV, radio and the internet – to capture political heavyweights clashing over some of the more controversial questions.

“And we’re planning special programs dedicated to the G8 summit in Hokkaido,” says Kana Okubo, NHK senior producer.