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Japan candidate to run for head of U.N. intellectual property group

  • October 29, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 1:32 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO – Japan will field a candidate in next March’s election for chief of the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said Tuesday.

Kenichiro Natsume, 51, a WIPO senior director in legal and international affairs at the Patent Cooperation Treaty, will run in the March 5-6 poll to select the successor to Director General Francis Gurry of Australia.


The Geneva-based organization, with 192 member states, is responsible for creating and enforcing rules to protect intellectual property rights. Among members, 83 belonging to the WIPO Coordination Committee have a vote to choose the director general for a six-year term from Oct. 1, 2020.


Natsume, who began his career at the Japan Patent Office in 1992, worked at Japan’s permanent mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, before heading WIPO’s Tokyo office in 2012.


“We believe his wealth of experience in administration, policy-making, diplomacy and cooperating with developing countries…will contribute greatly to tackling the challenges faced by the WIPO,” the ministry said in a statement.


Industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said Japan will try to win the support of various countries. Tokyo has previously fielded two candidates for the WIPO’s top post without succes.

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