WCO Secretary General addresses scholars in Japan on WCO’s significant role during COVID-19 crisis

03 September 2020

On 3 September 2020, the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya gave a special lecture to WCO scholars at the Customs Training Institute in Kashiwa, Japan. Eighteen scholars under the Japan-WCO Scholarship Programme who are following the Master’s Degree Programme in Public Finance at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) or in Strategic Management and Intellectual Property Rights at the Aoyama Gakuin University (AGU) attended the lecture.

The Secretary General's lecture focused on the emerging and evolving challenges faced by Customs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as on the WCO’s significant role of continuing to facilitate international trade, especially cross-border movements of relief goods, and of helping minimize the overall impact of the crisis on the world's economies and societies. He also highlighted the importance of cooperating and closely working both with the private sector and international organizations to ensure the integrity and continued facilitation of the global supply chain.

During the interactive session that followed, Dr. Mikuriya answered questions and listened to scholars’ comments. He made frequent references to the situation in the scholars’ respective countries, while highlighting WCO’s contributions towards supporting Members through online platforms to maintain their activities and secure business continuity. In addition, he shared his views on further action to be taken by the WCO in this context. The visit by Dr. Mikuriya provided a good opportunity for scholars to gain cutting-edge knowledge on the WCO's activities and to recognize the roles that scholars can play in working towards Customs modernization efforts in their home administrations.

Professors from both universities attended the lecture and welcomed the support provided by the WCO and Japan Customs.  In turn, Secretary General Mikuriya praised the Programme as an excellent example of partnership between Customs and universities in addressing the crucial matter of Customs modernization aimed at developing human resources through knowledge, management skills and networks.  He wished the WCO scholars all the best for the completion of their courses and future career in Customs, as they would undoubtedly be engaged in shaping the Customs agenda in years to come.