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WHO Exec from Japan taking leave amid racism allegations

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Takeshi Kasai

PARIS (Jiji Press) — Japanese doctor Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organization’s regional director for the Western Pacific, is taking leave amid racism allegations, WHO sources said Tuesday.

Kasai is under investigation after WHO officials reportedly accused him of racist and abusive remarks.

Deputy Director-General Zsuzsanna Jakab is acting as the region’s director for now, the sources also said. Kasai may lose his post.

On Jan. 29, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that he had taken the allegations against Kasai seriously, adding that the WHO was conducting investigation.

Meanwhile, Kasai has denied the allegations.

Kasai has worked at the Japanese health ministry and the Miyazaki prefectural government in southwestern Japan. He became regional director for the Western Pacific in February 2019 after serving as WHO representative in Vietnam.