(From the Sendai branch)
Atsuto Suzuki, president of Iwate Prefectural University and head of the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office, explained the current international and domestic situation with the ILC to reporters in Sendai City on July 24th. He said that this month, the governments of Japan, France, and Germany agreed to start discussion groups (for the ILC).
On July 1-2, President Suzuki visited France and Germany with head officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, as well as Hon. Takeo Kawamura (head of the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC) and others. The Japanese side told the various foreign officials that they had an interest in the ILC, and explained to them the position of the Japanese government. They also reached an agreement (on the discussion groups).
In 2016, a similar discussion group was set up between the Japanese and American governments, and have held four sessions as of April 2019. The Japanese/French/German groups will hold their first meeting within July, and plan to discuss joint research that will lead to a reduction in construction costs.
Europe is in the process of establishing its next strategy for particle physics (2020-2024), which will have an effect on the ILC project. President Suzuki explained, “We are now prepared so that Japan can start exchanging opinions with France and Germany as soon as possible.” He is also aware of the challenges involved: “Japan must respond while also paying close attention to the European strategy.”
Specially-appointed professor Satoru Yamashita of the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics of the University of Tokyo was also in attendance. He said the following conditions would need to be met for the ILC to be put in the European strategy: technology, funds, political and governmental involvement, and the understanding of people in the local area. He stressed that “If we achieve all of that, then it won’t be an issue to put the ILC in the strategy.” Going forward, he said they would work together with the Japan Society of Civil Engineering, as well as explained their plan to survey and design around the Kitakami mountains, the world’s leading candidate site for the ILC.
The Tohoku ILC Preparation Office was set up by the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council to be a “team on the ground” that would work to prepare the area to receive the ILC.