Akihiko Matsuura from UNI Global Union’s Japanese affiliate, UA ZENSEN, has been confirmed as the new President of UNI Asia and Pacific (Apro) at a regional online Executive Committee meeting today, 5 November.
Brother Matsuura takes over the leadership mantle from Minao Noda of ICTJ Japan, who have served as the region’s President since 2015.
Along with the committee members who conveyed their congratulations, UNI Asia and Pacific’s Regional Secretary, Rajendra Acharya, extended his warmest welcome to Brother Akihiko Matsuura, adding:
“We are in good and steady hands, Brother Matsuura is no stranger to us, having served as our Vice President. His rich and extensive union experience will enable us to bring UNI Asia and Pacific in our next phase of building forward for a stronger labour movement.”
In his inaugural remarks, President Akihiko Matsuura said:
“The pandemic has made people realise that trade unions play a crucial role in protecting workers. Our efforts have made people realise that unions are necessary in these challenging times. We need to organise more workers and to demonstrate our influence in Asia Pacific, which is a region of rapid economic growth. At the same time, our region is seeing a serious attack on democracy such as that taking place now in Myanmar, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Many Asian countries are still refusing to recognize trade union rights and many workers suffer poor working conditions. In addition, there are many other issues that will bring about major changes in the future of our labour, including the progress of new technologies such as AI and robots, and climate change.
“I feel a very heavy responsibility to take on the role of the President during such challenging times, but I will do my best to work with the UNI Apro Regional Secretary, the staff, and together with the affiliates to strengthen our solidarity to defend human rights, trade union rights, democracy, and to protect workers’ rights and to strengthen UNI Apro as a regional organization.”
The members of the 29th UNI Apro Executive Committee expressed their utmost appreciation to outgoing President Minao Noda, who said:
“Since my election at the UNI Apro regional conference six years ago in Kuala Lumpur, I have tried my best to visit every country to understand the situation and to speak with the leaders. The pandemic over the last two years has regrettably hindered the face-to-face interactions we have enjoyed. There is a positive and unique quality about UNI Apro and I hope the new president can continue to enhance that. I sincerely wish all the best to UNI Apro and that it will prosper in the future under Brother Matsuura’s new leadership.”
UNI Global Union General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, expressed her gratitude for the exemplary leadership of Brother Noda during his presidency, saying:
“You led us through our transition period and I cannot say how much I appreciated your support during this time….You have also been a great leader at UNI APRO ICTS, very thoughtful and steady, kind and practical. You have given quite a bit of your time and energy to our great UNI project. On behalf of everyone at UNI, thank you!”
Rajendra Acharya added:
“On behalf of the secretariat, I really thank Brother Noda for his strong support to us. I wish him a very good retirement and hope he can continue to extend to us his rich experience in the future.”
The meeting also confirmed Yasutoshi Namiki, from JAW, Japan, and Yukinori Ishikawa, from JPGU, Japan, as the UNI Apro Vice Presidents.
Kyoichi Ando, ICTJ, Japan, is confirmed the UNI Vice President for UNI Apro and Sister Mio Susai, FNIU, Japan, Deputy President of UNI Apro Women Committee has been confirmed as the member representing women at the UNI Apro Management Committee.
The UNI Apro Executive Committee members express their firm conviction that UNI Apro remains in good hands and are confident that the renewed leadership will lead the UNI Apro family smoothly out of the pandemic crisis.
Profile: Akihiko Matsuura
Born in 1962 in Osaka, Japan.
1984 Teijin Company
1992 Executive Committee Member, Teijin Workers’ Union
2000 Assistant Secretary, Chemical and Textile Dept., ZENSEN
2002 Assistant Secretary, Chemical Dept., UI ZENSEN
2008 Central Executive Standing Committee Member and Secretary, Chemical Dept., UI ZENSEN
2010 General Secretary, UI ZENSEN
2012 General Secretary, UA ZENSEN
2016 President, UA ZENSEN
2016 World Executive Board Member, UNI
2016 Vice President, UNI-APRO
2016 Vice President, JTUC-Rengo
2017 Chairperson, UNI-LCJ
2017 Chairperson, IndustriALL JAF
2018 Executive Committee Member, IndustriALL Global Union
2021 Deputy President, JTUC-Rengo