Japan lays hopes on the election of Yukiya Amano as the first Japanese national to head the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a senior government official said on Friday.

"We are glad that Amano received great international support and [Japan] managed to increase its significance in the world. It is very important that the citizen of the world''s only nation that suffered atomic bombings has been elected [as IAEA chief]," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said.

The 62-year-old Amano, who is currently Japan''s ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, gained two-thirds of the vote from the IAEA board of governors on Thursday.

Amano will take up the post on December 1, becoming the UN nuclear watchdog''s fifth director general when he replaces Egypt''s Mohamed ElBaradei, who has been in office since 1997.

"As a national of Japan, I intend to do my best to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons," Amano told reporters soon after he was elected.