It is with great sorrow that the United Nations University (UNU) has learned of the passing of Mr. Hidetoshi Yajima, former President, CEO, Chairman, and Advisor of Shimadzu Corporation. Beginning in 1996, and throughout Mr Yajima’s tenure of leadership and afterward, Shimadzu Corporation was a major donor to and supporter of the UNU project on Monitoring and Management of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Asia.
Mr Yajima died on 7 July 2021 at the age of 86.
Mr Yajima was born in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, on 25 January 1935. After graduating from Keio University in 1957, he joined the Defense Agency and then the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation.
In 1977, at age 42, he joined Shimadzu Corporation, and went on to serve as its President and CEO (1998‒2003) and Chairman of the Board (2003‒2009), and thereafter as Senior Corporate Advisor (from 2009). Mr Yajima also served as an Outside Director of Tsubakimoto Chain Co. Ltd.; Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd.; Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.; Mitsubishi Motors Corp.; and Tsubaki Nakashima Co., Ltd.
In 2002, Mr Yajima was awarded the Medal with Blue Ribbon by the Government of Japan for outstanding contributions to the development of industry and public interests, and in 2011 he additionally received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
For more than 20 years (1996‒2019), through seven phases of UNU’s multilateral POPs project, Shimadzu not only provided comprehensive financial support to UNU research on environmental pollution, but also contributed its technical skills and expertise with respect to environmental analysis and helped participating institutes in the project’s 10 Asian nations to enhance their environmental monitoring research activities.
In addition to personally championing the POPs project, Mr Yajima contributed to the success of UNU by supporting the Japan Foundation for the United Nations University (JFUNU; a public interest incorporated foundation established in 1985). He became a Councillor of JFUNU in 2003, served as President of the JFUNU Governing Board from 2005‒2010, and contributed to the Foundation as an Advisor from 2010 until his passing.