(Reporting by the Tokyo Bureau)
On September 25th, Hon. Koichi Hagiuda, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), sat down to an interview with various media companies where he talked about the effort to bring the ILC to Japan. “If there are countries to partner with and if the financial predictions look good, then it would be great if they do a lot of research in Japan,” he stated, showing great interest in how the international negotiations will turn out regarding sharing the costs of the ILC.
Hon. Hagiuda pointed out some challenges as well. “MEXT does recognize the necessity of the ILC. But an immense budget is also required. It would be a challenge for just one country to take on something of that scale.” He also said, “The usual way to do this [run an international project] would be for all the countries involved to invest money into construction and operations. If there are countries to partner with and if the financial predictions look good, then it would be great if they do a lot of research in Japan.”
The Federation of Diet Members for the ILC and the local governments of the candidate site for the ILC have been calling on the national government to make their position clear. Regarding that, Hon. Hagiuda said, “I understand their requests. I’d like to consult with all related organizations and form a team going forward.”
It is thought that the national government will make a decision on hosting the ILC after the Master Plan (for science in Japan) is formulated by the Science Council of Japan next year, as well as taking into account the deliberations going into creating the next European physics strategy for 2020-2024. The international group of scientists pushing for the ILC will have a workshop in Sendai in October, where they will continue to call for the national government to make a decision.