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I can imagine that in the years after the great wars of the previous century, a meeting of leading nations carried much weight as to what the world's direction would be in the coming decades. Pipe-smoking gentlemen with their three-piece suits, and certainly no women, would gather in smoke-filled meeting rooms and decide the course, and the most influential papers of the day would spread the word.

In an information age, our policymakers are slowly learning that those days have long gone. The first citizens of some 20 nations who have gathered in Japan this week no longer have the cover of darkness to plot a course for their countries. That their every decision or indecision is scrutinised and laid to shreds by a wide global audience has caused a sort of insecurity among them...

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