United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today (9 February 2007) announced the appointment of Kiyotaka Akasaka of Japan as Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.
Mr. Akasaka has served as the Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) since 25 August 2003, where his responsibilities include development, environment, sustainable development and partnerships with other international organizations.
Mr. Akasaka has been closely involved throughout his career with the work of multilateral organizations. He 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 in December 1997 and in various international conferences.
He was an Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations between 2000 and 2001, and he has also held posts at the Secretariat of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the precursor of the World Trade Organization, from 1988 to 1991, and at the World Health Organization from 1993 to 1997. He served as a member of a GATT panel on trade dispute.
Throughout his career, Mr. Akasaka has nurtured sufficient experience in handling communications and public relations issues. In the Japanese Foreign Ministry, he served as Deputy Director of the Press Division and then was the Ministry’s Spokesman on climate change issues for many years. In his current capacity of Deputy Secretary-General of OECD, Mr. Akasaka also has been deeply involved in the Organization’s public information activities.
Mr. Akasaka also demonstrated excellent management skills during his time at OECD, where he is well-known for a number of innovative reforms and initiatives to improve coordination between various departments and to strengthen efficiency of the Organization.
Mr. Akasaka joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry in April 1971, immediately after graduating from Kyoto University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in law. From 1972 to 1974, he was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a Bachelor and a Master of Arts in economics, as part of the Ministry training programme.
He is the co-author of books entitled The GATT and the Uruguay Round Negotiations (in Japanese) and The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (in English). He has also written many articles on trade, the environment and sustainable development in Japanese journals and newspapers.
Mr. Akasaka speaks fluent English and French and has some knowledge of Portuguese. He was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1948.