The International Linear Collider (ILC) has been proposed to be built in the Kitakami mountains. Moving towards that goal, a physical office for the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office was opened in Sendai City on August 29th. The office will oversee the establishment of specific community development plans, industry support, regional preparations to accept the project, and other such activities. On the 29th, its director, Dr. Atsuto Suzuki (president of Iwate Prefectural University) put up the office’s sign with other officials, and talked about their current state of activities to reporters in attendance. By mid-2017, they hope to establish a basic plan for the greater region that will outline the future of the Tohoku region with the ILC.
The establishment of the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office was approved by senior officials at the June general meeting of the Tohoku Conference for the Promotion of the ILC (run by the Tohoku Economic Federation, or Tokeiren). It is made up of the following organizations:
▽Iwate Prefectural University
▽Iwate Prefectural Government, Miyagi Prefectural Government
▽Sendai City Government
▽Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council
The Tohoku Economic Federation is working with Tohoku University to create a Grand Design for Tohoku and the Kitakami mountains, starting with the ILC. They are designing the area’s future around the keyword of “Life in Tohoku”. Building the ILC in Tohoku will lead to a high-quality standard of living that can be achieved by anyone, from current residents to future researchers.
The basic plan for the greater region will reflect the perspective of this Grand Design, and will be created by the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office. Dr. Suzuki said he wants to establish this plan by mid-2017. Furthermore, they have created four sections and two special groups that will handle PR for the ILC plan, deliberate on necessary equipment/facilities for the ILC, and more related to preparing the area for the ILC.
On the 29th, a lecture was also held for the media regarding the progress of various ILC projects led by the Preparation Office. Officials say they will hold lectures for the press and ask them to spread the word about the project as one way to share news about the ILC’s progress with a wide audience.
A ceremony was held to open the physical office before the lecture. The office is located on a different floor of the same Sendai City building where the Tohoku Economic Federation is located. This is where Dr. Suzuki and Mr. Osamu Oe (managing director of the Tohoku Economic Federation, and chief of operations for the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office) put up the sign for the office. Normally, they will use the internet to communicate with each other, so there will be no staff placed in the office. However, it will be used as a meeting space for ILC-related officials. Dr. Suzuki declared, “We want to create a situation where we are 100% ready when we get the green light for the ILC.”
While various projects and initiatives for the ILC are proceeding forward, the project still remains relatively unknown by the people of Japan. Even in Tohoku and Iwate Prefecture, many in the coastal and northern areas are unaware of the significance of the ILC. Dr. Suzuki said, “Iwate Prefecture’s Office of Science and ILC Promotion is running the ILC Caravan, and we hope to hold more Caravan events with the cooperation of people related to the project. Some foreign residents of Iwate said they would like to help. I hope we can grow that circle of support.”
Specially-appointed professor at Tokyo University, Dr. Satoru Yamashita, will be in charge of creating the basic plan for the greater region at the Preparation Office. He said, “We will think about what will become possible should the ILC become a reality, and we will see many spinoff effects because of the participation of people around the region. The more people get involved, the higher the chance we will succeed. If you look at it that way, the role of PR will become more and more important as we prepare for the project.”