Director-General pays official visit to Japan

Director-General pays official visit to Japan
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

From 27 September to 1 October 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, undertook an official visit to Tokyo, Japan.

During his stay, the Director-General held talks with Mr Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister; Mr Tatsuo Kawabata, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Mr Hirofumi Hirano, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr Shizuka Kamei, Minister of State for Financial Services; Mr Muneo Suzuki, Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Diet, as well as former Prime Ministers and other former Ministers of Japan.

During his meetings, Mr Matsuura expressed his gratitude for the Japanese Government’s active support to UNESCO's activities and reviewed the efforts he had taken to reinforce the credibility of UNESCO during his tenure as the Organization’s Director-General over the last ten years. The Japanese authorities paid tribute to Mr Matsuura’s many achievements as Head of the Organization, notably with regard to his management reforms.

In his meetings with new members of the Cabinet, who were elected at the recent general election, the Director-General expressed his satisfaction at the great interest the Japanese general public has taken towards UNESCO. He noted this was particularly noticeable in the expansion of a number of grassroots movements such as UNESCO Federations and UNESCO Associated Schools Network. Mr Matsuura urged the Japanese authorities to continue their strong engagement with the Organization. The Director-General also exchanged views on internal and external Japanese policies relating to UNESCO’s programmes and fields of competence, and the importance of strengthening cooperation in areas of common priority.

A UNESCO/United Nations University (UNU) Conference on Africa and Globalization (see Flash Info N°174-2009*) jointly opened by the Director-General and Mr Konrad Osterwalder, Rector of the UNU, on 28 September 2009, was an occasion for Mr Matsuura to reaffirm his commitment to bolster UNESCO's support for Africa, UNESCO’s overarching priority.

Other than Africa-related matters, Mr Matsuura also took this opportunity to discuss pressing international issues with the Conference's high-level participants, namely: Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Mr John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, former President of the Republic of Ghana; Mr Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of the Republic of Mali and Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Mr Sam Nujoma, founding President of the Republic of Namibia; Mr Antonio Ramalho Eanes, former President of the Republic of Portugal; Mr Tetsuro Fukuyama, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr Masaharu Nakagawa, Senior Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

Throughout his visit, the Director-General was interviewed by several major Japanese television, newspapers and magazines.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 175-2009
  • 05-10-2009
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