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  • Cryopumps | Preparing for the cold tests

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ITER Director-General meets Prime Minister Kishida

In Japan, the prime minister lives and works at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in central Tokyo, just a few blocks from the National Diet Building and the grounds of the Imperial Palace. It was in this modern glass-fronted building that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida received ITER Director-General Pietro Barabaschi on 30 November 2023 for a cordial exchange on the status of ITER and the role of Japan in the ITER Project.

Director-General Pietro Barabaschi paid a courtesy visit to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (centre) on 30 November 2023. Also present during the meeting were ITER Chief Strategist Takayoshi Omae (first from left); ITER Deputy Director-General for Science & Technology Yutaka Kamada (second from right); and Masaaki Taira, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives (first from right). (Click to view larger version...)
Director-General Pietro Barabaschi paid a courtesy visit to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (centre) on 30 November 2023. Also present during the meeting were ITER Chief Strategist Takayoshi Omae (first from left); ITER Deputy Director-General for Science & Technology Yutaka Kamada (second from right); and Masaaki Taira, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives (first from right).
Prime Minister Kishida has been the head of the government of Japan since October 2021, when he was appointed by the emperor after being nominated by the National Diet. Concurrently, he is the head of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party.

Pietro Barabaschi, before becoming the Director-General of the ITER Organization in September 2022, led the European contributions to the JT-60SA tokamak project—a major upgrade of the Japanese tokamak JT-60U being carried out jointly by Europe and Japan under the Broader Approach agreement. It has been estimated that his duties as JT-60SA project leader since 2007, and later as director of the totality of the Broader Approach activities, had led him to travel over 180 times to Japan.

The bilateral meeting took place just one day before the inauguration of the JT-60SA tokamak which, until ITER operation, will be the largest tokamak in the world.  

At the meeting, Prime Minister Kishida underscored the continued commitment of Japan to the ITER Project. Director-General Barabaschi expressed his appreciation for the continued contributions of Japan to ITER, and the country's role as one of the historical founders of the international collaboration to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes.

During his multiday trip to Japan, Director-General Barabaschi also met with the chairman of the Japan Business Federation Keidanren, Masakazu Tokura (second from left). Keidanren is a federation of 1,600 businesses, organizations and associations whose mission is ''to draw upon the vitality of corporations, individuals and local communities to support corporate activities which contribute to the sustainable development of the Japanese economy and improvement in the quality of life for the Japanese people.'' (Second from right is State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Soichiro Imaeda.) (Click to view larger version...)
During his multiday trip to Japan, Director-General Barabaschi also met with the chairman of the Japan Business Federation Keidanren, Masakazu Tokura (second from left). Keidanren is a federation of 1,600 businesses, organizations and associations whose mission is ''to draw upon the vitality of corporations, individuals and local communities to support corporate activities which contribute to the sustainable development of the Japanese economy and improvement in the quality of life for the Japanese people.'' (Second from right is State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Soichiro Imaeda.)
Japan has long been a steadfast partner in the realization of ITER, participating alongside Europe, Russia and the United States in the project's early conceptual design activities (1988-1990), hosting one of three Joint Work Sites during engineering design (1992-2001), proposing a site for the project, and—since the signature of the ITER Agreement—hosting a number of advanced fusion research projects in complement to ITER under the umbrella of the Broader Approach. As Member to the ITER Project, Japan is responsible for delivering critical components and systems, including niobium-tin conductor for the central solenoid, toroidal field magnets and magnet structures, gyrotrons for electron cyclotron heating, the outer vertical target of the ITER divertor, and the blanket remote handling system.

The meeting with Prime Minister Kishida was of historical significance to the ITER Project, as it was the first time that an ITER Director-General had met the head of government of an ITER Member.

During his trip, Director-General Barabaschi also met with Masakazu Tokura, the chairman of the Japan Business Federation Keidanren, and attended a trilateral meeting with Masahito Moriyama, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.



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