Officials of the Iwate Prefectural Government are no strangers to Strasbourg, France: We teamed up with the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council for last year’s IEEE to set up a booth showcasing the ILC project as well as the charms of Iwate and the entire region of Tohoku. This time, we once again visited the beautiful city in late October for Linear Collider Workshop 2017. While the Japanese national government has not moved on the project in the interim since LCWS 2016 in Morioka, we wanted to make sure that all of our friends abroad knew that Iwate and Tohoku are still working their hardest on making the ILC project come to fruition.

Perhaps the largest step forward was the support pledged by Mr. Olivier Becht, a member of French Parliament (National Assembly), and Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, a member of German Parliament (Bundestag). Both were in attendance during the outlook session for the ILC, and they gave speeches on how the ILC would be a large step forward for particle physics.

At the Alsatian Museum in Strasbourg – I didn’t forget to bring along Iwate’s mascot, Sobacchi!

Some other welcome guests were three members of the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC who called in from Japan: Hon. Takeo Kawamura (chair of the FDMILC), Hon. Ryu Shionoya (secretary-general of the FDMILC), and Hon. Tatsuo Hirano. “We have been explaining the project to Prime Minister Abe,” said Hon. Kawamura, reassuring the researchers that Japan is still deliberating and taking the project very seriously.

The power of technology – the conference call from Japanese Diet members

In other news at LCWS, the Advanced Accelerator Association Promoting Science & Technology and the Tohoku ILC Planning Office/Tohoku Economic Federation were also in attendance, meaning we had a lot of great informal exchange with a number of players in the ILC effort. Of course, Iwate was there in full force with its joint booth with the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council, showing off the Tohoku area. Participating researchers and scientists were able to chat with local government employees about life in the area and how the region is working to make the project a reality.

Chatting with researchers

One of the most interesting chats we had was about the “atmosphere” of this year’s LCWS. “Earlier this year, we were frankly quite pessimistic on whether the ILC would be built or not,” said one participant. “But seeing how hard you in Iwate and Tohoku are working, at the local level, makes us extremely hopeful that the ILC will someday become a reality.”

Messages from Researchers for the ILC – Click to enlarge

The reception on October 26th was also a highlight, where we witnessed the signing of a memorandum between KEK and the University of Strasbourg for a joint research project. “Someday,” chuckled KEK Director-General Masanori Yamauchi, “we will be signing a similar memorandum for the ILC.” We hope so too!

Networking over Alsatian wine

Iwate Prefecture’s Senior Executive Director Hisashi Odaira gave a speech at a lunch reception on the last day, basically reiterating that Iwate was preparing for the project and looking forward to welcoming everyone in Tohoku for the ILC. Good conversation was had with the participants, and we came away feeling like we strengthened our ties with the ILC community. It was truly a memorable experience to go to such an international event, in such an international city.

Strasbourg – always a beautiful place to visit

But our work is only beginning. Not only has ICFA declared that the ILC should be built at a smaller 250GeV energy level at first, leading to cost reductions of up to 40%, but Europe will begin planning its next five-year physics strategy in summer of 2018 – making it crucial that Japan voices its intentions by that point. Us in the local government will continue to urge the national government to make a speedy decision.

We can only hope that this is this is the year with an indication from Japan on hosting the project. There is a sense now that things are moving forward…at long last!





左: 国際研究所の研究者と話している作者
右: 日本からの訪問団とマーク・ウィンターさんを含めたLCWS 2017実行委員会メンバー


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