On March 27th, the Iwate ILC Promotion Council (Chair: Kunihisa Yamura, chair of the Federation of Iwate Chambers of Commerce) and the Iwate Prefectural Government held a seminar on the ILC in a Morioka hotel. Now that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has expressed an interest in the ILC, researchers have stressed how important it would be to accelerate efforts to negotiate with other countries. One of the speakers, famous manga artist Kenshi Hirokane, said “Please realize the ILC in Iwate.”
Around 400 local citizens attended. Prof. Sachio Komamiya of Waseda University praised MEXT for recently making their position clear, saying, “They talked about the scientific significance of the ILC as well as its effects on the area in which it would be built. This is a step forward.” He asked for the Japanese national government to be proactive going forward, because planning will begin for the next European particle physics strategy and “Japan will need to demonstrate a move forward in the next six months.”
Since MEXT stated they would continue international talks, Director Yasuhiro Okada of Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK, in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture) stressed that KEK would ask for cooperation from other countries through their foreign physicist counterparts. They would also hold seminars for local residents in the areas surrounding the ILC candidate site in order to quell any unease about the safety of the device.
Mr. Hirokane spoke about how he came to draw a story about the ILC in his manga, Chairman Kosaku Shima. “If the ILC is realized, Iwate will become home to an international city of science of research that would lead the world. But nobody outside of Tohoku knows about it. That’s why I’d like to use my manga to convey the importance of the ILC to the people of Japan.” He also said, “Iwate suffered deeply from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The ILC will bring a new energy to the area, which is why I’d like to help boost enthusiasm for the project to ensure it is realized.”
One attendee of the seminar said, “The whole country should be told about how important the ILC is, so it’s a big push for the project to be drawn in such a popular manga. I hope the ILC is built in Tohoku and that it leads to fair society that will draw people to the area.”