Iwate Nippo polled the citizens of Iwate about the prefectural government and its policies. Regarding the ILC, 64.2% of respondents said they were interested in the ILC. This is a 1 point rise from last year’s poll, and the past two years have seen a rise in interest. This will be a boost to the national government and their deliberations on hosting the ILC, as well as the officials in the Tohoku region who are working to prepare the area.
34.5% of respondents said they were interested in the ILC (+0.3 points), and 29.7% of respondents said they were somewhat interested (+1.3 points).
Separated by age group, 68.7% of those in their 60s had an interest, the most out of any age group. Following that were 65.5% of those in their 40s, 64.7% in their 20s, and 50% in their teens, the lowest of any age group.
The ILC candidate site lies within Oshu City, Ichinoseki City, and Kesennuma City. Separated by region, 66.3% of people in the inland regions of Iwate have an interest in the ILC (+0.9 points), but only 55.1% in the coastal regions have an interest (+1.8 points). The difference in interest between the inland and the coast shrunk by 0.9 points since the last survey, but the coastal region still lags behind.
On the other hand, 10.8% of respondents said they were completely uninterested in the ILC (+1.7 points), and 17.0% of respondents said they were not really interested (+0.3 points), for a total of 27.8% of respondents.
8.0% of respondents said they never heard of the ILC, or otherwise did not answer (-3.0 points).
The most anticipated effect of the ILC was an increase in employment and development of new industry, at 35.0% of respondents. 18.3% responded they anticipated internationalization and interaction with different cultures, and 14.7% responded they were hoping the ILC put a stop to, or at least slow down, decreasing population.
This year, Ofunato City on the coast showed a rising interest in the ILC, through installing a new ILC Promotion Office as well as a large scale seminar held by the chamber of commerce. Kazuko Hozawa, a homemaker living in Sakari, Ofunato, said, “I don’t really know anything about the ILC itself, but if it will use Ofunato’s port, bring foreign researchers here, and otherwise contribute to the revitalization of the area, then I think it’s a good thing to do.”
The Japanese national government should make their decision on hosting the ILC next year. Kunihisa Yamura, chair of the Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council (and also chair of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Iwate), said, “This rising interest is the result of all the work done by those involved with the ILC. We’re approaching the moment of truth for hosting the ILC, so we’d like to accelerate our efforts to prepare the area for the project.”