First of all, I would like to thank all of you in the world who have a strong interest in the ITER Project. Now at the end of my term of office, I would like to send this message to you.
ITER is an international megaproject, one that is doing its part to contribute to world peace by creating a new collaborative culture and pioneering standards for solving the world’s energy and environmental problems. Thirty-five nations are participating, but the project goes beyond specific political interests to pursue a goal that can benefit all humanity.
The five years of my term of office have been very exciting and challenging, as I worked together with my colleagues from the ITER Organization and seven Domestic Agencies (in China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the US) to move the ITER Project forward.
From the fifth floor of the ITER Headquarters building, progress is striking—when I first arrived, there was only an empty platform.
The ITER Project is both a big science and an engineering project, with the intrinsic risks of cost, schedule and technology. My experience as Director-General has shown me how difficult a project such as ITER is and how the job of the DG is a very tough one. I thank the ITER Council and the seven Members for giving me the opportunity of working in this very challenging role.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Europe for its contribution as host Member. I thank the former European Commission President Barroso, the former European Commissioner for Energy Oettinger, and the former French Secretary for Higher Education and Research Fioraso for their continuous support and commitment to the ITER Project, which were quite encouraging for me.
Yesterday, 5 March 2015, the ITER Council in an Extraordinary Meeting appointed Bernard Bigot as the next Director-General of the ITER Organization. We have known each other very well for a long time now and I know him to be an experienced manager in large projects, a leader able to find common ground, an excellent communicator and someone who is highly respected in the fusion community. I fully welcome the ITER Council decision. I have been very glad to support him during the transition period in the best possible interest of the ITER Project.
I thank the ITER Council and Bernard Bigot for conferring on me the honour of Director-General Emeritus. Now, I will return to Japan with my wife Kaoru and our lovely new dog. I will miss all of you and I am sorry to leave the beautiful country of France. Nevertheless, you can be sure that I will continue to be a strong supporter of the ITER Project.
At the last of my message, I would like to thank my wife Kaoru and my family for their daily support, without which I could not have completed my responsibilities.