A total of eight mayors from towns and cities in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures submitted a document with their opinions on the ILC to Juichi Yamagiwa, the Chair of the Science Council of Japan. As we enter the last stage of deliberations before a government decision on the ILC, these mayors wanted to show that the towns surrounding the Kitakami ILC candidate site were in total agreement in regards to supporting the ILC.
The eight mayors were from Iwate’s Ichinoseki City, Oshu city, Ofunato City, and Hiraizumi Town, and Miyagi’s Kesennuma City, Kurihara City, Tome City, and Osaki City. Osamu Katsube, mayor of Ichinoseki, submitted the document to the SCJ’s offices in Tokyo.
Within, they stressed that, “We can contribute to the development of human resources as a country of science and technology,” and “This will be a chance to develop a region (outside of Tokyo).” They have held many seminars and informal dialogues with city residents and researchers, and “the people of our cities have a deeper understanding of the ILC, and hope for its realization.”
The municipalities in Iwate have been developing local systems to receive the ILC as well as communicating the project to the local people. In Miyagi Prefecture, the chambers of commerce of Kesennuma, Kurihara, and Tome have formed an ILC Promotion Council, and these three cities have joined together with Osaki to petition the national government. This is how they came together with this show of unity.
The ILC Committee within the SCJ is currently debating whether Japan should move forward with the ILC project. In November, they released a draft of their answer which questioned the possibility of international cost-sharing and economic effects. They also pointed out that “we must convey the correct information, and push forward dialogue with the local residents.”
It is not currently known when the ILC Committee’s next meeting will be held. Researchers, both Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, and others have said again and again that there are factual errors in the draft. It remains to be seen how they will respond to this as well as the document from the mayors.
On November 30th, Shigeru Sugawara, Mayor of Kesennuma, said to the press, “We hope they understand what we as the local municipalities are doing to bring about the ILC, and that they take a more positive stance on the project.” Mayor Katsube said, “Within the draft, there are mistakes in portions regarding the areas surrounding the candidate site. We put together this document so that they would have the correct information.”