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Commissioner, Japan Patent Office


picture of Commissioner, Japan Patent Office Mr. Akira Matsunaga

Mr. Matsunaga was appointed as JPO Commissioner in July 2019. He manages JPO operations and oversees Japan's policy on patents, trademarks, and design rights.

Mr. Matsunaga previously served as Director-General for Regional Economic and Industrial Policy since July 2017. As the head of METI's regional policy, he was in charge of initiatives to promote job creation in Japan’s regional areas, such as METI’s Industrial Cluster Policy. In the wake of the accident at TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Mr. Matsunaga supported reconstruction of the Fukushima area through various roles. As the Director-General of the Fukushima Reconstruction Promotion Group, he was responsible for reactor decommissioning and contaminated water management, as well as reconstruction support and industrial development in the affected areas. Specifically, he was helping to revise the Mid-and-Long-Term Roadmap towards the Decommissioning of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Units 1-4 and enhanced assistance for affected residents in areas subject to evacuation orders.

Upon joining METI, Mr. Matsunaga was first assigned to the Industrial Location and Environmental Protection Bureau, where he was responsible for policy to determine optimal locations for industrial development. He has been assigned to the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency three times during his career, to positions in the General Coordination Division, Planning Division and Policy Division. He has also held the position of Special Assistant to the Commissioner and Director-General of the Business Environment Department. During this period, he implemented the Bureau’s industrial location policies and worked to revitalize SMEs, later using his experience to teach SME theory as a professor at Nagasaki University’s Faculty of Economics from 2002 to 2004

Mr. Matsunaga holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tokyo and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.

He was born on August 16, 1961 in Saitama Prefecture.

Last updated:2019-10-09