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Japanese official chosen to head UN atomic watchdog

Japanese official chosen to head UN atomic watchdog

Amb. Yukiya Amano of Japan
A Japanese diplomat with a lengthy record of working on disarmament and non-proliferation issues will be the next chief of the United Nations nuclear watchdog after winning a secret ballot today against two other candidates.

The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, meeting at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna, chose Yukiya Amano as Director General to succeed Mohammed ElBaradei when he steps down at the end of November.

Mr. Amano was elected after he received 23 votes in favour, securing the necessary two-thirds majority from the 35-member board. He beat out Abdul Samad Minty of South Africa and Spain’s Luis Echávarri. Belgium’s Jean-Pol Poncelet and Ernest Petric of Slovenia had already withdrawn their candidatures.

Mr. Amano, 62, becomes the fifth Director General in the IAEA’s history. He is Japan’s current Ambassador to International Organizations in Vienna, and a member of the IAEA Board of Governors.

The ambassador has been involved in the negotiating process for major international instruments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear energy policy, and he has previously held senior Japanese Government posts in the scientific, nuclear energy and arms control fields.