Kenichi Kurihara Moves to New Post at MEXT

May 17, 2022

Dr. Kenichi Kurihara, Director of the Naka Fusion Institute in Japan since 2016, has moved from his post there to become Technical Advisor on Fusion Energy and Development at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan. His move was triggered by a "retirement due to age" requirement in Japan. He is also currently a member of Fusion Power Associates Board of Directors.

Dr. Kurihara began his career in 1979 at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI), a predecessor of Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA)) , after he graduated from the Nuclear Engineering Department, the University of Tokyo. Since then, he devoted himself to the design, construction, commissioning, operation, and improvement of the JT-60 tokamak supervisory control system.

Since 1985, Dr. Kurihara worked for research and development of plasma controls and magnetic diagnostics for JT-60 and ITER. He was also responsible for improvements of plasma overall operation and performance for JT-60 until its shutdown in 2008. In 1988, he worked at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory to study plasma operation as a visiting researcher under the TFTR Tokamak Operations Division. On the basis of his research experience in overall control of tokamak plasmas, he took a doctor's degree from the University of Tokyo in March 1993.

From 1993 to 1994, he was deputy head of Planning Office for Fusion Energy Program in the JAERI Tokyo Headquarters. From 2000 to 2002, he was deputy head of Planning Office for the ITER project to deal the ITER site competition and negotiation.

Since the "Broader Approach Activities" began in 2007, he became responsible officer for controls and power supplies for the Satellite Tokamak JT−60SA. Since 2008, he supervised procurements from the Japanese side as Director of the Department of Tokamak System Technology in Fusion Research and Development Directorate of JAEA. In 2012, he became Deputy Managing Director of the Directorate. In 2014, his position was renamed to Deputy Director General of Naka Fusion Institute by the entire reorganization of JAEA.

In April, 2016, he became Director General of Naka Fusion Institute at the same time when the National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST) was newly established. This new national legal entity was re-organized by unifying the Directorates of Fusion and Quantum Beam in JAEA, and National Institute for Radiological Science.

Since April, 2020, he has been Managing Director of the Fusion Energy Directorate in QST. In addition, since 2020, he has been an Expert Member of the Science and Technology Research Council for the Ministry of Education, Culture,ports, Science Sand Technology (MEXT), Japanese Government, and also a Member of the Fusion Science and Technology Committee in MEXT.

In May, 2022, became Technical Advisor on Fusion Energy Research and Development to MEXT.

A prize of Excellent Invention Award was awarded to him from the Minister for Science and Technology Agency of Japan in 1995. He has worked as a part-time lecturer in the Japanese graduate schools at Hokkaido University (2002), Nagoya University (2003-2005), and Kyushu University (2009).

Dr. Kurihara can be reached at his new email address: kurihara.kenichi@hb.tp1.jp