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Biography of the Secretary-General



Mr Yoshio Utsumi worked in the Japanese government for over thirty years and has a proven track record of expertise in telecommunications at senior policy levels gained both nationally and internationally.

After earning a Bachelor degree of Law from the University of Tokyo and a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Chicago, Mr Utsumi joined the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) where he held a number of senior policy-making level positions. In 1972, he was nominated professor of public administration at the MPT Postal College. From 1986, he led Japanís largest investment fund at MPTís Postal Life Insurance Bureau until 1988, when he moved to broadcasting as the Head of the General Affairs Division of MPTís Broadcasting Bureau. He later joined MPTís Communications Policy Bureau, where he helped shape Japanís domestic policies. Before joining ITU, his experience in international affairs included three years in Geneva, where he served as First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Japan in charge of ITU affairs and two years as Director-General of International Affairs of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. In 1994, he was elected Chairman of the ITU plenipotentiary conference. At the senior policy-making level, he served as MPT Director-General and Deputy Minister.

Mr Utsumi is credited with having introduced the competition and liberalization policy at a time when such ideas were not widely accepted. His initiative led to Japanís first reform of its telecommunication market. He was also a major driving force in many of Japanís most important projects to develop multimedia industries. In the postal sector, he undertook a major restructuring of Japanís postal services, which he carried out skillfully and successfully with the cooperation of 200 000 staff at every level. On the international scene, Mr Utsumi has played a very active role in many negotiations, and in particular, those leading to the historic WTO agreement on basic telecommunications.

Elected in 1998 as Secretary-General of ITU, he was re-elected for a second term in 2002.

During his two mandates, Mr Utsumi led the successful organization of the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) resulting in the adoption of the Geneva Declaration of Principles, the Geneva Plan of Action, the Tunis Commitment and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society which, together, provide a common understanding and vision on the way to shape the emerging information society so that it be inclusive, people-centered and equitable. A combined total of more than 30 000 people, including around 100 Heads of State and Government, took part in the two phases of the Summit. The Summit recognized the fundamental role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in shaping our future, and world leaders committed to building an information society by 2015, based on agreed principles and a clear roadmap. Through this process, ITU has asserted its leading role in the broader domain of the information society.

Under his leadership, reforms were introduced that led to a more efficient and effective organization, producing cost-savings equivalent to CHF 75 million out of a total budget of CHF 335 million on average per biennium. Highlights of his major achievements include the introduction of operational planning, results-based budgeting and time-tracking across the organization resulting in a substantial overhaul of the organization. He implemented cost-recovery measures in satellite filings and cost-saving measures in the areas of publication production and in working methods while creating new sources of revenue. These measures led to a reduction in the contributions to be paid by members, despite growing demands and cost increases.

From a strategic perspective, Mr Utsumi successfully refocused ITU as a policy-oriented organization by introducing new issues to ensure its continuing relevance, with landmark activities such as the New Initiatives Programme and the Global Symposium for Regulators. He also strengthened the role of ITU in the coordination of policy issues among Member States, particularly through workshops, country case study research and analysis reports. Through the WSIS process, ITU gained a clear role in the implementation of the WSIS Plan of Action, as part of a multi-stakeholder approach.

Under his tenure, ITU was made more attractive to the private sector: measures that responded to the demands for a lean, efficient and responsive organization offering a wider portfolio of more relevant services were introduced. These measures led to a 19 percent increase in private sector membership and a recommitment of the private sector to the work of ITU.

He also succeeded in strengthening ITUís public presence, particularly through increased public visibility in the media.

Mr Utsumi was born on 14 August 1942. He and his wife Masako, an architect, have a son and a daughter.


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Updated : 2006-07-31