The fusion energy innovation strategy voices concern about so-called “blank periods” for fusion-related industries, such as the procurement declines due to the progress of the International Thermal Experimental Reactor (ITER) Project, which is mainly based on contributions in kind. With an eye on future participation by private industries in the construction of a prototype reactor to demonstrate power generation, it is clearly stated that a council will be established for the purpose of fostering the fusion industry.

Based on that, the Cabinet Office (Science and Technology Policy group) had been preparing for establishment of J-Fusion since the end of last year. A total of 21 companies served as incorporators, representing manufacturers, trading houses and construction companies. On March 22, TAKAICHI Sanae, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, announced the establishment. On the same day, events were staged in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by the Fusion Industry Association, the American equivalent to an industrial council, and others.

In addition to special and regular members with voting rights, J-Fusion will invite associate, academic, collaborating, and supporting members. It will conduct a broad range of activities, such as the following:

  1. Conducting surveys on trends among domestic and international nuclear fusion industries.
  2. Sharing information among member companies.
  3. Making policy proposals to the government, including technological standardization and safety regulations.
  4. Gathering to exchange opinions with the younger generation.
  5. Holding events in coordination with overseas industries.

KONISHI Satoshi, chief executive officer and chief fusioneer of Kyoto Fusioneering Ltd. (KF), a spinoff from Kyoto University, is the chair. He has advocated for nuclear fusion energy since working as a researcher at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI)―the predecessor of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).

Upon the creation of J-Fusion, he expressed his determination, saying, “[We will] bring together like-minded players across diverse sectors. Our objective is to cultivate a fusion energy industry originating from Japan, promoting it globally, and contributing to the future of humanity. With our sights set on an evolving industry, we come together to leverage the collective wisdom, talent, knowledge, and experience, as we collaborate and forge ahead with global partners to develop an unprecedented supply chain.”

The vice chairs are KITAJIMA Seiji, executive officer of the Sumitomo Corporation, and TAGUCHI Takaya, CEO of Helical Fusion Co., Ltd.

The public sphere is increasingly recognizing and understanding nuclear fusion. In March, KF was selected for an innovation promotion project aimed at realizing zero emissions in Tokyo. Helical Fusion was awarded the Grand Prize in the Green Transformation (GX) Startup & Researcher Pitch Contest, hosted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

On March 29, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) announced a call for program managers to lead the nuclear fusion area under the Moonshot Research and Development Program. Accelerated research and unprecedented movement are clearly in store for this new industry.