Hon. Takeo Kawamura, chair of the non-partisan Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (FDMILC), said on 2/14 that he would visit the United States in spring. His goal is to start earnest discussions between the US and Japan for creating a cooperative framework to bring about the ILC. The decision from the Japanese national government on hosting the ILC is scheduled to take place during the end of 2017 or sometime in 2018, so “this year is the moment of truth” (:FDMILC headquarters). His aim would be to speed up US-Japan talks regarding the framework for international cooperation, including on cost and other issues.
This was an answer to the Iwate Prefecture’s Federation of Assembly Members for the ILC (Chair: Makoto Tamura, chair of the Prefectural Assembly), who had visited the Diet to give a formal request for a faster realization of the ILC.
During a meeting with Prime Minister Abe, Chair Kawamura told him, “It’s about time to reach a conclusion.” Kawamura did say that PM Abe mentioned the cost of the project. However, since staging* is currently being discussed as a method to spread the cost out, Kawamura stressed that, “(Realizing the ILC) is a matter of pride for a country built on science and technology.”
*Staging – building a smaller ILC and then ramping up its capacity, reducing initial costs
Also, as China is now expressing interest in accelerator research, Kawamura said, “We must quickly bring the ILC in as we decide on specific policy. I’d like to continue moving forward getting as much support as we can.”
Vice-chair of the FDMILC, Hon. Shunichi Suzuki (Iwate 2nd district), who was also there to hear from the Iwate delegation of assembly members, vowed, “This year is the moment of truth. We can also reduce costs (for ILC construction) through technological breakthroughs. I’d like to work as hard as I can with the FDMILC.”
From Iwate, along with Chair Tamura and four other members from the Prefectural Assembly, there was also the Takashi Kikuta (Chair of the Association of City Council Chairs), and Teruo Kon (Chair of the Association of Town/Village Council Chairs). They conveyed their approach would be to work with the FDMILC to further develop activities to bring about the ILC.
The ILC is an international project that aims to unlock the mysteries of the origin of the universe, and its candidate site is in the Kitakami mountains (Kitakami highlands) of Iwate Prefecture. Construction costs (including labor costs) alone will equal over 1 trillion yen, and one issue is whether or not the other member countries will be able to take on some of this massive cost.