Visit of the Director-General to Japan (27 August to 4 September 2007)

The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, undertook an official visit to Japan on the occasion of the fifth annual conference on issues of globalization, jointly organized by UNESCO and the United Nations University (UNU) and the Second session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

On 29 August, Mr Matsuura opened the UNU/UNESCO international conference: “Pathways towards a shared future: Changing roles of higher education in a globalized world” in the presence of Mr. Hans van Ginkel, UNU Rector, and high representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology of Japan. At the same venue, on 31 August, the director-General took part in the welcoming ceremony for the new Rector of UNU, Professor Konrad Osterwalder of Switzerland (see Flash info n°108-2007).

Mr Matsuura opened also the Second session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on 3 September, during which the Committee continued working on the directives for the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage (see Flash info n°109-2007). In the evening, Mr Matsuura attended the reception organized by the Japanese Government in the framework of the second session, in the presence of Mr Nobutaka Machimura, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ms Yasuko Ikenobo, Senior Vice-Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology.

During his stay in Tokyo, the Director-General was received by the Emperor and Empress of Japan. He also met with Mr Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Nobutaka Machimura, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Fukushiro Nukaga, Minister of Finance; Mr Bunmei Ibuki, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Mr. Ichiro Kamoshita, Minister of the Environment; Mr Kaoru Yosano, Chief Cabinet Secretary; Mr. Masahiko Koumura, Minister of Defense; and Mr Yoshimi Watanabe, Minister for Financial Services. 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 Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister and President of the Japanese Inter-Parliamentary Group for UNESCO, Mr.Yasuhiro Nakasone, former Prime Minister and other authorities from the Japanese Parliament and Government.

Mr Matsuura attended the General Assembly of the Japanese National Commission to UNESCO on 30 August, during which he highlighted the major pillars of the draft Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013. As general issues on UNESCO-Japan cooperation, Mr. Matsuura took this opportunity to urge further efforts of the Japanese Government with regard to accelerated ratification of UNESCO conventions. He also appealed the enhanced involvement of youth in UNESCO Clubs movement.

The Director-General was invited by the President of the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan (NFUAJ) to attend the 60th anniversary event of the UNESCO Clubs movement in Yamaguchi prefecture on 1 September (see Flash info n°110-2007).

Mr Matsuura gave lectures at the Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR) sharing his experiences as the head of an international organization, on 29 August, and on “Food culture based on my experience in 180 countries I visited” at the Food Culture Forum, the previous day. During the third lecture entitled “UNESCO’s role: how to preserve cultural heritage of humanity?” organized by Twilight Forum of Hibiya High School, his alma mater, the Director-General stressed the important role of UNESCO to promote and safeguard endangered languages and linguistic diversity as an essential part of the living heritage of humanity.

During his stay, Mr Matsuura took time to attend the opening reception of the retrospective “Pilgrimage for Peace” of Mr Ikuo Hirayama, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, at the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art.

  • Auteur(s):La Porte-parole
  • Source:Flash Info N° 116-2007
  • 04-09-2007
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific