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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

Visit of the Director-General to Japan

From 21 to 29 August 2006, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, undertook an official visit to Japan on the occasion of the fourth annual conference on issues of globalization, jointly organized by UNESCO and the United Nations University (UNU).

On 21 August, in Tokyo, Mr Matsuura designated Ms Missa Johnouchi, a renowned Japanese composer, as an UNESCO Artist for Peace, with the role of promoting the importance of preserving cultural heritage through her concerts (see Press Release N°2006-102). The following day he signed a MoU on cooperation between UNESCO and International Consortium on Landslides (ICL) (see Flash info n°128-2006).

On 23 August, Mr Matsuura opened the conference on “Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for Science and Technology” in the presence of Mr. Hans van Ginkel, UNU Rector, Mr Masayoshi Yoshino, Vice Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology, and Ms Akiko Yamanaka, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs (see Flash info n°127-2006).

During his stay in Tokyo, the Director-General was received by the Emperor and Empress of Japan and he also met with Mr Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Taro Aso, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Kenji Kosaka, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Mr Sadakazu Tanigaki, Minister of Finance. During these meetings the Director-General expressed his appreciation for Japan’s support to the Organization and expressed his wish to continue seeking ways to strengthen cooperation.

The Director-General also paid visits to Mr Yohei Kono, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister and President of the Japanese Inter-Parliamentary Group for UNESCO and other authorities from the Japanese Parliament and Government.

During a special ceremony to mark the designation of Japanese “Kabuki” theatre as a UNESCO Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, proclaimed as such in November 2005 at UNESCO Headquarters, the Director-General gave a keynote speech and presented a diploma to Mr Takeomi Nagayama, Chairman of the board, Shochiku Company. The award ceremony was covered by major Japanese media outlets.

Mr Matsuura also attended the General Assembly of the Japanese National Commission to UNESCO on 24 August, during which he highlighted the current progress on UN system reform and UNESCO’s active participation in the process.

Mr Matsuura gave lectures at a commemorative symposium on the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, organized in Tokyo on 23 August, and on “50 years of UN-Japan” at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, the previous day.

During his stay, Mr Matsuura also took time to express his profound gratitude to representatives of Sony and Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) for their 10 years of cooperation in promoting the World Heritage Programme. Mr Matsuura also visited Shirakami-Sanchi located in Aomori Prefecture, a Japanese natural site inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash info n°129-2006
  • 01-09-2006
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