Iwate Nippo conducted their 2018 survey of what Iwate residents think about the prefectural government, and within, 62% of respondents answered that they were interested in the ILC project. Nippo has asked this question every year since 2012, and in each of those seven years, the response was in the 60th percentile. This year showed a 1.6 point decrease from last year. International researchers are calling on the Japanese government to make their intentions on the ILC known by March 7th, 2019, so interest in the government’s decision will only grow from here.
32.2% of respondents answered “I have an interest in the ILC” (a 2.3 point decrease from 2017), and 30.4% of respondents answered, “I have somewhat of an interest in the ILC” (a 0.7 point increase). Broken down into age groups, 92.3% of respondents in the 10-19 age range answered they had an interest in the ILC, while that percentage varied from 59.9%-63.5% in the age ranges from 20-70.
On the other hand, 12.3% of respondents answered that “I do not have an interest in the ILC” (a 1.5 point increase) and 16.7% responded, “I don’t really have an interest in the ILC” (a 0.3 point decrease). 8.4% of respondents answered, “I don’t know/No answer” (a 0.4 point increase).
“Employment and new industry” was the most hoped-for result of the ILC, at 32.5% of respondents (a 2.5 point decrease). Next, 17.2% of respondents hoped for more internationalization and interaction with other cultures (a 1.1 point decrease), and 15.1% of respondents hoped for a stop to the population decrease (a 0.4 point increase).
2013 saw the highest rate of respondents interested in the ILC (68.3%) as that was the year the Kitakami mountains was formalized as the candidate site for the ILC in Japan.
Taking these results into account, Kunihisa Yamura, head of the Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council and Federation of Iwate Chambers of Commerce, said, “In order to get the Japanese government to voice their intentions on the ILC, the candidate site, economic interests, and politicians need to work nationally to increase awareness and understanding of the project amongst the people of Japan. We will work our hardest towards that goal.”
The Science Council of Japan deliberated on the project, and in December 2018, they submitted their response to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. While they recognized that the project had significant scientific merit, they raised some concerns about international sharing of costs. “With the current plan and state of preparations, the SCJ is not at a point where they can support the project being hosted in Japan.” The final decision lies with the national government.