MEXT Minister Hirofumi Hirano was particularly interested in the workings of the Tokamak Building's antiseismic system.
On Saturday 28 July 2012, the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Hirofumi Hirano, visited ITER on his way back from London where he had participated in the inauguration of the Olympic Games.
The Minister was welcomed by the ITER Organization's Director-General, Osamu Motojima, and met with Japanese staff working at the Organization. The delegation visited the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility, the foundations of the Tokamak Complex seismic pit and the new Headquarters building that is in its final stages of completion.
Minister Hirano highlighted the "importance of the ITER project in the context of energy research" and stressed the fact that "this concern is shared by all countries in the world, not just by Japanese people."
In an interview with the local newspaper La Provence
, the Minister was quoted as saying that in the global quest for energy security, fusion certainly was "one of the major aims to pursue." "It is of utmost importance," he added, "that every ITER Member share a common commitment to the project. This strong determination will allow ITER to keep its schedule and produce First Plasma in 2020."
Minister Hirano extended his thanks and appreciation to the French authorities and to CEA for activally contributing to the implementation of the ITER project and, also, for their support "at the time of the events in Fukushima."
Addressing the Minister, CEA-Cadarache Director Maurice Mazière pointed out "the excellent relations that existed between Japan and France in the area of energy research, and particularly that of fusion." Mr. Mazière added that France was "very glad to see the personal interest taken by Minister Hirano in the ITER project."
"This was a very important opportunity for the ITER project to welcome the Minister of MEXT," said Director-General Motojima. "The visit allowed the Minister to really see the progress being made on the construction of ITER and to express his strong interest in, inter alia, the safety of fusion technology including anti-seismic structures. It was also very encouraging for us to directly experience Japan's support to the project."
Click here for a Japanese translation of the article published in La Provence.