On May 13th, it was made clear that arrangements are being made to set up a cooperative group of U.S. and Japanese government officials that will deliberate on specific issues regarding the International Linear Collider project (ILC). The suggestion for the group came from the American side. Officials from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) will visit the USA at the end of May with plans to engage in a dialogue with the American side. It is forecasted that there will be some specific movement regarding the ILC project.
This news was released by the non-partisan Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (FDMILC – Chair: Diet member Takeo Kawamura). On the same day, they filed a formal request for the ILC to Minister of MEXT Hiroshi Hase.
According to the FDMILC, the suggestion for the Japan-U.S. group was made by the American side when the Federation made a visit to the country in February. It is considered the highest priority of the U.S. side to set up this group. After Japanese officials confirmed that they would move positively towards this, U.S. officials indicated that they would increase their budget for ILC development and design.
FDMILC Secretary-general and Diet Member Ryu Shionoya (Shizuoka 8th district) said, “I expect that we will have a thorough debate during our visit to the USA.”
FDMILC Vice-chair and Diet Member Shunichi Suzuki (Iwate 2nd district) asked that both the American and Japanese governments move steadily forward on this issue.
The ILC will be the most advanced linear accelerator in the world, and will aim towards solving the mysteries of the birth of the universe. The Kitakami mountains (Kitakami highlands) of Iwate are the proposed site for the project. Construction and labor costs for the accelerator facility alone will top 1 trillion yen, and the issue at hand is how will the participating countries cooperate and split this massive cost. The Japanese national government is forecasted to make their decision on whether or not to host the project between the end of 2017 and 2018.
On the 13th, Chair Kawamura (Yamaguchi 3rd District), Secretary-general Shionoya, Vice-chair Suzuki, and Vice-chair Kenji Kosaka (proportional represented constituency), all members of the Liberal Democratic Party, visited with Minister Hase at the Diet to hand him the request.
Within the request, it asked that:
・ A cooperative Japan-U.S. group be set up, and that deliberations be started quickly
・Inter-organizational structures be strengthened as this will be a large-scale international project