What Can Kids Do?

Junior 8 Summit 2008

The Junior 8 (J8) summit has been held every year starting in 2005, to give young people a way to express their opinions to G8 leaders and the people of the world, as well as a chance to nurture mutual understanding among the J8 participants and the people of the host country. In parallel with this year’s Hokkaido Toyako Summit, the J8 gathered 39 middle school and high school students from 15 different countries in Chitose, a city close to the G8 summit venue. From July 1 to 10, these children earnestly debated topics like climate change, poverty and development, and global health, and enjoyed various exchange programs with local citizens.


The Chitose Declaration
J8 participants drafted the Chitose Declaration and presented it directly to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on July 7, the opening day of the nearby G8 summit. Nine representatives, one each from the G8 countries and one delegate from non-G8 country presented the written declaration. The contents of the Chitose Declaration are proactive and progressive—and filled with the free thinking typical of young people.

First off, with regard to climate change, the declaration proposes that the G8 present a treaty that includes all nations and has strict but reasonable guidelines for reducing greenhouse gases. On poverty and development, it calls for an expression of renewed public commitment to promoting children’s rights, and the rights of girls in particular. In the area of global health, the declaration calls for the promotion of educational programs on topics like disease prevention, sanitation, and sexual education.


What makes the Chitose Declaration unique is that by presenting an Action Plan, these young people are calling for action, rather than mere words, in order to make these proposals a reality.

It should be also noted that, through the J8 Summit, both the J8 participants and the local citizens of Hokkaido enjoyed interaction between different cultures and made good friends with each other.