IAEA says its 72-year-old chief, Yukiya Amano, has died

FILE - In this Nov. 22, 2018, file photo, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano of Japan addresses the media during a news conference after a meeting of the IAEA board of governors at the International Center in Vienna, Austria. The IAEA said Tuesday, July 22, 2019, it is announcing with regret the death of Amano. The Secretariat did not say how Amano, who was 72, died. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

VIENNA — Yukiya Amano, the International Atomic Energy Agency's director general, has died at 72, the agency announced Monday.

The Secretariat did not give a cause of death for Amano, or say when he died. The agency said he was planning to write soon to the agency's board of governors announcing his decision to step down. It released part of that letter, in which Amano he praised the agency for delivering "concrete results to achieve the objective of 'Atoms for Peace and Development' plan."

He added that he was "very proud of our achievements and grateful" to IAEA member states and agency staff.

The IAEA said its flag will be lowered to half-mast.

According to the agency's biography, Amano was Japan's representative to the agency from 2005 until his election as director general in July 2009, including a stint as chair of its board of governors from 2005-2006. He had extensive experience in disarmament and non-proliferation diplomacy, as well as nuclear energy issues, and assumed his duties as IAEA director general on Dec. 1, 2009.

A graduate of the Tokyo University Faculty of Law, Amano joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry in 1972 and was posted to jobs in Belgium, France, Laos, Switzerland, and the United States.

At the Foreign Ministry, Amano was chief of the Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department from 2002 until 2005. He previously served as a governmental expert on the U.N. Panel on Missiles and on the U.N. Expert Group on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education.

Amano contributed to the 1995, 2000 and 2005 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conferences, and he chaired the 2007 Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

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