Leaders of the seven largest industrial nations were sharply criticized at the start of their annual economic summit, held this year in Okinawa, for not following through on last year's pledge to write off $100 billion of the $260 billion owed to the West by the most indebted states. Most of the opening discussions have focused on how the debt forgiveness process might be sped up or at least how to reschedule debt payments under better terms. By the start of the summit, debt relief should have been approved for nine countries, but only one, Uganda, is close to having its debts cancelled. Of the seven powers, only the UK has enacted 100 percent debt relief, cancelling bilateral debts owed by 41 of the world's poorest countries. Germany, one of the biggest creditors, opposes cancellation, leaving activists less than sanguine about the chances for full debt cancellation or any new initiatives from the summit. Since 1994, Russia has attended the political discussions at the summit (making it the G8), and this year President Putin is almost sure to lodge strong objections to the missile defense system under consideration in the US. On the way to the summit, Putin stopped in China and North Korea to gather support for his case. Another issue for President Clinton, who is expected to leave the summit early to return to the Mideast peace talks, is a growing opposition among Okinawans to the huge American military presence on the island.