Appointment of Mr. Junichi Ihara, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva, as Chairperson of the WTO General Council
（Statement by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama）
March 7, 2018
1. Japan welcomes the election of Mr. Junichi Ihara, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva, as Chairperson of the World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council. Ambassador Ihara was appointed the Chairperson upon the election at the General Council meeting held in Geneva on March 7 (local time).
2. The WTO plays a central role in the multilateral trading system. As a protectionism and inward-looking tendency has become conspicuous in the international community, the WTO is particularly expected to fulfill a greater role in promoting free trade.
3. Under these circumstances, taking this opportunity that Ambassador Ihara assumes this important duty as Chairperson of the General Council, Japan, as a standard-bearer of free trade, will engage more proactively in maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trading system centered on the WTO and promoting free trade.
(Note) WTO General Council
The General Council is the highest permanent body of the WTO. During intervals between meetings of the Ministerial Conference, which meets once every two years, its functions are carried out by the General Council. The Chairperson of the General Council has a term of one year. Ambassador Ihara was appointed the Chairperson upon the election on March 7. It will be the first time in 14 years that a Japanese representative will be serving as Chairperson of the General Council since Ambassador Shotaro Oshima (for one year from February 2004).