Brussels, 11 Apr 2005
The international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) project will be one of the subjects for discussion when Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik meets Japanese political and business leaders during a three-day visit to Tokyo from 10 to 13 April.
The Commissioner will meet the Japanese Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Nariaki Nakayama, the State Minister for Science and Technology Policy, Yasufumi Tanahashi, along with other senior policy makers and business figures.
A spokesperson for the Commissioner told CORDIS News: 'ITER will of course be on the agenda, but it's not the sole focus of the trip. [...] The Commissioner will discuss general science and technology relations with Japan, and explain [the Seventh Framework Programme] and the increased international cooperation element that is being proposed.'
But Mr Potocnik himself is well aware that the need for a decision on the location of the international fusion reactor is becoming increasingly pressing. Last month the Commissioner said: 'We have to remember that we would like to start building the project at the site of Cadarache [France] in the course of this year. If we take into account the fact that we would need half of the year to prepare for it, we need to find a solution very soon.'
The Council confirmed the EU's position following its Spring Summit at the end of March, calling on the Commission 'to make every effort to achieve that aim [of starting building work by the end of 2005], in particular by finalising the international agreement by July 2005.'