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5 years ago... ITU appoints Utsumi as chief

And he's still there
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

And he's still there

22.10.98 The International Telecoms Union (ITU) has appointed Yoshio Utsumi as secretary-general.

Utsumi - currently Japan's telecoms minister - was elected at the ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis by delegates from the 146 member states present. He secured an absolute majority in the first ballot with 85 votes, ahead of the current deputy secretary general, Henry Chasia of Kenya, who recorded 52 votes.

In his acceptance speech, Utsumi said the ITU's role is becoming ever more crucial with the "explosion of new services, telecoms players and regulatory frameworks" that are emerging as a result of the "telecommunications revolution".

He also highlighted the relatively slow rate of infrastructure growth in the developing world. He said that the most important mission of the ITU is to the telecoms haves and have-nots.

Utsumi will replace Pekka Tarjanne of Finland, who has served a nine-year term in office.
22.10.03 Utsumi last week led the ITU's quadrennial get-together in Geneva, ITU Telecom World 2003. Much of the debate was indeed still focused on narrowing the 'digital divide' between developed and developing nations.

Now we don't know Utsumi that well. His background is from an economy at the vanguard of new services in mobile and broadband, not one struggling to get basic telephony services.

And of course the kind of politicking that goes on at somewhere such as the UN - for the ITU is a division of that body - means he will have enemies.

But let it be said that his and the ITU's drive is undeniably the right way forward. Technologies, for example based around wireless communications, now exist to let countries that have previously been have-nots take a leap forward to the modern era of communications and all its benefits.

Long may such pushes continue and the real benefits be felt.

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