Europe

Divide over fiscal policies, currencies at G-7 in Japan

  • A group of people protest against climate change and coal investments, ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting, in front of the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting is held on May 20-21 in Sendai, northern Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    A group of people protest against climate change and coal investments, ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting, in front of the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting is held on May 20-21 in Sendai, northern Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

  • A group of people state a protest against climate change and coal investments, ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting, in front of the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting is held on May 20-21 in Sendai, northern Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    A group of people state a protest against climate change and coal investments, ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting, in front of the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting is held on May 20-21 in Sendai, northern Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

  • A protester wearing a cutout of Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso hands out a piece of coal to passersby during a protest against climate change and coal investments, ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting, in front of the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting is held on May 20-21 in Sendai, northern Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    A protester wearing a cutout of Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso hands out a piece of coal to passersby during a protest against climate change and coal investments, ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting, in front of the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting is held on May 20-21 in Sendai, northern Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

Japan faces a challenge in bridging a widening divide over how to revitalize sluggish growth in leading economies at a summit of top financial officials that began Thursday with the group bashing in the lids of sake barrels.

The finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven industrial nations were engaging in a local tradition for kicking off festivities, but it was in keeping with what could be a fractious event.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said the talks that get underway in earnest on Friday would focus on fiscal and monetary policy, the international financial system, sustainable development and issues such as money laundering and tax evasion.