Telecoms Union re-elects Japanese

The International Telecommunication Union re-elected Yoshio Utsumi as secretary general Monday at its Plenipotentiary Conference held in Marrakech, Morocco, Japanese government officials said.

Utsumi, who ran unopposed for a second four-year term, garnered 123 votes out of 143 valid ballots. His new term will begin in February.

Utsumi, 60, was an official with the former Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, now the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications.

Telecom minister Toranosuke Katayama said he believes Utsumi’s re-election reflects high appreciation of Japan’s contribution to the world in the area of telecommunications.

“We will continue to vigorously support ITU operations in the future,” Katayama said in a statement.

Utsumi in February 1999 became the first Japanese to head the ITU, after serving a in series of senior posts at the former Posts and Telecommunications Ministry.

Along with Koichiro Matsuura, director general of UNESCO, Utsumi is one of only a few Japanese to head an international organization.

The Plenipotentiary Conference is the top policymaking body of the ITU and is held every four years. The current conference started Sept. 23 and will continue through Oct. 18.