Joined UNESCO: 02/07/1951

Hosts the United Nations University (UNU) - Tokyo. Mission: "to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations, its Member States and their Peoples" Four Key Roles: An international community of scholars A bridge between the United Nations and the international academic community A think-tank for the United Nations system A builder of capacities, particularly in developing countries

Head of State and/or Government

Emperor of Japan: His Majesty Emperor AKIHITO
Prime Minister: H. E. Mr Shinzo ABE

Permanent Delegation to UNESCO

H. Exc. Mr Takio Yamada
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Delegate (06/12/2017)

Permanent Delegation of Japan to UNESCO
100, avenue de Suffren 75015 PARIS
Web site

National Commission for UNESCO

Chairperson: Mr Yuichiro Anzai

Secretary-General: Mr KAWABATA Kazuaki

Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
3-2-2 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku 100-8959 Tokyo Japan
Web site

Read more National Commission for UNESCO

Representation in the Executive Board

The 1991 amendment modified Article V of the Constitution, regarding the status of members of the Board. From the 27th session of the General Conference (1993), the Executive Board consists of Member States rather than of persons (26 C/Resolution 19.3).
Title Name Years Sessions
MemberMr Toro Haguiwara1952-195632-45
MemberMr Akira Matsui1956-196246-62
MemberMr Tatsuo Suyama1962-196862-80
MemberMr Yukihisa Tamura1968-197481-95
MemberMr Keitaro Hironaga1974-197796-102
MemberMr Kiyoshi Suganuma1977-1980102-110
MemberMr Masami Ota1980-1983110-117
MemberMr Takaaki Kagawa1983-1987118-126
MemberMr Mizuo Kuroda1987-1991126-137
MemberMr Wataru Miyakawa1991-1993138-142

Participation in subsidiary organs

Organs elected by the General Conference

Executive Board
Member (Term expires : 2021)
International Coordinating Council of the Programme on Man and the Biosphere
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Intergovernmental Council for the International Hydrological Programme
Vice-Chairperson : Mr Yasuto Tachikawa
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)
Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)
Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)

Other intergovernmental organs

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
Member (Term expires : 2021)

Councils of UNESCO's Institutes and Centres

Governing Board of the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning
Elected Member : Mr Keiichi Ogawa

Addresses delivered in the general policy debate by the Head of Delegation at the General Conference

37 session of the General Conference

Ambassador Kenjiro Monji

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 37th session of the General Conference - revised and corrected version of the verbatim records of plenary meetings

37 session of the General Conference

Mme Michiko Ueno, Vice-Ministre de l’éducation, de la culture, des sports, de la science et de la technologie du Japon

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 37th session of the General Conference - revised and corrected version of the verbatim records of plenary meetings

36 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Kiyoshi Shimizu, Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 36th session of the General Conference and posted as received

35 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Masaharu Nakagawa, Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology

“(…) In the era of globalization, Japan attaches importance to UNESCO's initiatives which tackle global issues. These issues include Education for All (EFA), Priority Africa, Gender Equality, the environment, ethnic and religious dialogues, counter-terrorism, poverty, infectious diseases, sanitation and natural disasters.”
“Mr Matsuura was appointed as the first UNESCO Director-General from the Asian region in 1999. Since then he has devoted considerable efforts to administrative reforms, decentralization (…). The Japanese Government appreciates such efforts and has actively supported such reforms. (…) Japan intends to continue with this active participation to UNESCO activities as a Member State under the leadership of the new Director-General.”
“We are at the midpoint of the UN decade of education for sustainable development DESD this year. We welcome the rapid international spirit of ESD. (…) We have to redouble our efforts for the second half of the DESD. We believe that the Bonn Declaration and the draft strategy proposed by the UNESCO Secretariat provide clear and suitable guidelines for the promotion of ESD over the next five years. Having continued the initiative of UNESCO in ESD promotion we reconfirm that we will be hosting the End of Decade World Conference in Japan in collaboration with UNESCO. (…) Japan has actively supported UNESCO's important role in scientific fields such as the International Hydrological Programme, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Man and the Biosphere Programme and Disaster Prevention.”
“(…) UNESCO should be an organization which consolidates and restructures all scientific knowledge in collaboration with other international organizations to solve global issues.”
“(…) We appreciate programmes rated to preservation of World Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage which facilitate cultural diversity and raise UNESCO’s visibility. Japan intends to continue contributing to these programmes through Japanese Funds in Trust and the dispatch of experts.”
“UNESCO reforms initiated by Matsuura must be succeeded by the next the Director-General. We expect that UNESCO reforms set as clear defining of UNESCO’s roles, prioritization of programmes and budget will be further promoted.”

34 session of the General Conference

H.E. Ms Ikenobo Yasuko, Senior Vice-minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

[Address delivered in Japanese; English text provided by the Permanent Delegation)
“The international community urgently needs to confront the challenges of environmental protection, as well as the prevention of conflicts and terrorism. I believe that UNESCO, through its programmes, can guide us toward fundamental solutions to these issues.”
“Japan highly appreciates the reforms initiated by Director-General, Mr Matsuura, since 1999 under a tight budget, as well as his strengthening of mutual trust between Member States and the Secretariat.” Japan also welcomes Montenegro and Singapore.
“Turning now to United Nations reform, we are convinced that UNESCO can play an important role in improving cooperation and synergies with other United Nations organizations. Japan also welcomes UNESCO’s active participation in efforts to achieve “One UN” at the country level and strongly endorses its commitment to promote decentralization to this end.”
“We endorse a continued emphasis on the preservation of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage in UNESCO’s forthcoming Medium-Term Strategy. […] Japan strongly intends to contribute to UNESCO’s efforts for the protection of intangible cultural heritage by sharing its past experience and expertise on the international level. Furthermore, Japan has ratified this year the Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict.”
“We also expect UNESCO to continue to exert leadership in establishing peace and harmony through the promotion of dialogue among cultures, civilizations and cultural diversity.”
“As the international community strives to attain the objectives of Education for All by 2015, UNESCO should not spare any efforts in preaching the importance of education in order to realize social change.”
“Japan was among the first countries to advocate in 2002 the importance of Education for Sustainable Development, and has steadily promoted this initiative. The United Nations also proclaimed the ten-year period starting in 2005 as the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. […] Japan urges UNESCO to significantly reinforce its efforts on ESD in the forthcoming Medium-Term Strategy...”
“It is crucial for UNESCO to reinforce partnerships with educational and scientific institutions, the media, corporations, and non-governmental organizations.”
“Under the outstanding leadership of my old friend Mr Matsuura, I expect UNESCO to enhance its visibility – particularly among younger generations – and to provide a stage for mutual understanding and cooperation.”
“Japan welcomes the clear priority given by UNESCO to Africa. In May next year, Japan will host the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD IV, to discuss measures to be taken by the international community for African development. UNESCO plays a major role on the issue of African development, and we hope it will contribute to the success of TICAD IV. ”

Celebration of anniversaries

1300th anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo, capital (710) (2010)

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. During this period the framework of national government was consolidated and Nara enjoyed great prosperity, emerging as the fountainhead of Japanese culture. The city’s historic monuments – Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and the excavated remains of the great Imperial Palace – provide a vivid picture of life in the Japanese capital in the eighth century, a period of profound political and cultural change.
Nara is a World Heritage site. The flowering of Japanese culture during the period when Nara was the capital is uniquely demonstrated by its architectural heritage. The layout of the Imperial Palace and the design of the surviving monuments in Nara are outstanding examples of the architecture and planning of early Asian capital cities. The Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of Nara demonstrate the continuing spiritual power and influence of these religions in an exceptional manner.
On the occasion of the 1300th anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital, many commemorative events will be held in and around Nara throughout the year 2010.
© UNESCO / G. Boccardi

100th anniversary of the birth of Hideki Yukawa, physicist (1907-1981) (2007)

Hideki Yukawa was an eminent scientist who contributed to the development of theoretical physics, particularly the theory of elementary particles. Member of the Japan Academy, the Physical Society and the Science Council of Japan, and Emeritus Professor of Kyoto University, Hideki Yukawa was the winner of the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy in 1940, he received the Decoration of Cultural Merit in 1943, and the Nobel Prize for Physics, in 1949, “for his prediction of the existence of mesons on the basis of theoretical work on nuclear forces”. His work was recognized worldwide: honorary doctorate of the University of Paris and honorary memberships of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Indian Academy of Sciences, the International Academy of Philosophy and Sciences, and the Pontificia Academia Scientiarum.

  • 100th anniversary of the birth of Doctor Lazaro L. Zamenhof (Brazil, Japan and Universal Esperanto Association of the United Kingdom) (1959)

  • Reference document: 54 EX/7