Sekimizu to step down next year over wife’s ailment

International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Secretary-General, Koji Sekimizu has announced he will not seek reappointment when his term finishes at the end of 2015 due to personal reasons.

Speaking at a briefing of IMO member governments on Thursday, Sekimizu announced: “I would like to retire from IMO at the end of the current term which expires at the end of 2015. I will not seek reappointment.

“This is because of my desire to ensure my support to my wife, who has a serious health issue, and I would like to ensure that, when needed, I could give more time for her care and support for her immune system problems… if she becomes unwell again in the future, that could affect my duty and responsibilities and I may have to compromise my work, in order to ensure her care.”

Sekimizu referred to a period in March this year where his travel schedule was interrupted by his need to be with his wife, and despite his strongest hopes that she remains well, he could not guarantee a similar situation would not affect his work in the future.

“Therefore, I have made up my mind not to seek reappointment. I am sure that there are a number of highly-qualified people who can replace me and lead the Organization towards the future. But nobody can replace me to take care of her.”

“As the Chinese saying goes, “the person who chases two rabbits, catches neither.”

Elected secretary general of IMO in 2010, Sekimizu’s stint has seen him preside over a number of major initiatives pertaining to crew and passenger safety, working conditions in the scrapping industry, safe operation in Polar Regions as well as the much-contended Ballast Water Management Convention.