Mr Kono was accompanied by three representatives (members of Parliament): Mr Jun Matsumoto, Mr Sakihito Ozawa and Mr Tetsuo Saito.
Welcoming Speaker Kono, the Director-General expressed his sincere gratitude for the Japanese Government’s effective cooperation and valuable support in all of UNESCO’s areas of competence and at the prospect of further strengthening during his remaining mandate until next year. Mr Matsuura also expressed his appreciation in particular for the enormous efforts made by Japan for the ratification of various UNESCO conventions in recent years, such as the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, together with its 2 Protocols. In this regard the Director-General stressed the crucial importance of Japan’s ratification of the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
Mr Kono welcomed the return of the United States of America to UNESCO in 2003 as one of the most important events which took place during Mr Matsuura’s mandate. The Director-General was proud of the fact that the return of United States, as well as Singapore in October 2007, contributed to reinforce the universal character of the Organization. UNESCO currently has 193 Member states, one more than the United Nations.
In conclusion, the Director-General and Speaker Kono exchanged views on UNESCO’s World Heritage programmes as well as the current challenges the Member States face in the preparation of nomination files.
Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 093-2008 - Publication Date: 09-07-2008