The Science Council of Japan has established both a committee and technology working group to reevaluate the revised ILC plan. They met for their 5th meeting in Tokyo on September 18th to sort out points to debate going forward. Members sternly pointed out sections of the project where it was not clear how it would be funded, as well as safety issues and other technological problems. However, they did evaluate the project to be scientifically important.
Eight committee members and five working group members were in attendance. Committee chair Yasuhiro Iye (Director of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) talked about the points of contention.
Within the ILC will be a device that will absorb the energy from the electron and positron beams, but there were some questions about whether it would be possible to actually create the device, and what would be done in case of an accident. Regarding the enormous cost of the project, “Japan should not make a decision without it being clear that other countries will also cooperate to share the costs appropriately.” There have been calculations of the economic effects of the ILC, but someone made a stern comment that “there is little evidence to back these numbers, yet they are giving an overblown sense of expectation to the area surrounding the candidate site.”
However, they did recognize that a shorter initial length of the ILC would still be scientifically significant. “It is reasonable to focus the ILC on precisely measuring the Higgs coupling when you take into account the results coming out of CERN in Switzerland.”
After the meeting, Chair Iye said, “Right now, it looks a little tough for the project, but I think we must somewhat clear these obstacles to bring the ILC to realization. As we continue to hear from experts, I hope to continue to work towards a final answer.”
The next committee meeting will be on October 1st, and the next technology working group meeting will be on October 2nd.