Veteran Japanese diplomat takes over as top UN communications official

Ban Ki-moon (R) welcomes Kiyotaka Akasaka

2 April 2007 – Veteran Japanese diplomat Kiyotaka Akasaka of Japan, who has been closely involved throughout his career with the work of multilateral organizations, began his tenure today as the new chief of the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).

Mr. Akasaka, who succeeds Shashi Tharoor of India as the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, signed a Declaration at UN Headquarters in New York this morning.

The new Under-Secretary-General comes to the UN from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, where he served as Deputy Secretary-General since August 2003.

Mr. Akasaka served as Japan’s Ambassador to the UN between 2000 and 2001, and was Deputy Director-General in the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Multilateral Cooperation Department from 1997 to 2000, participating as one of his country’s top negotiators in the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change and various other international meetings.

He has also held posts at the Secretariat of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), precursor of the UN World Trade Organisation (WTO), and at the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

Fluent in English and French, Mr. Akasaka has held a number of positions in the field of communications and public relations, serving in the Japanese Foreign Ministry as Deputy Director of the Press Division and spokesman on climate change. He has also been deeply involved in OECD public information activities.

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