The Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council (Chair: Kunihisa Yamura) held a public seminar on the ILC in a hotel in Morioka on September 27th. There, specially-appointed Professor Satoru Yamashita of the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics of the University of Tokyo, (who is playing a central role in international negotiations for the ILC) stated that the deadline for Japan to show their interest in the ILC would be summer of 2018, based on how the rest of the world is moving forward. “Japan must show its intentions as it continues to deliberate. After deliberations are settled, then we will move towards an international consensus.”
Professor Yamashita entitled his presentation, “Current status of the ILC, and developing the region around the ILC.” He explained the current status of the project by saying, “Things are going very well. We’ve greatly reduced the construction costs for the accelerator, and there are fewer obstacles left to tackle. Right now, we’re at a point where even people outside of the research community are helping us.”
At this point, the schedule calls for international consensus by the 2020 fiscal year. The deadline for Japan to show a concrete interest in the project is summer of 2018, because a) Europe will begin planning its next Strategy for Particle Physics (a 5 year plan) in summer of 2018, and b) China is moving to create a large circular collider that might be approved by their government in 2018.
International expectations are rising for Japan. “During this year, industry, academia, and government must come together to begin talks with the governments of other countries,” he urged.
The ILC’s candidate site lies in the Kitakami mountains of Iwate Prefecture, but the costs are huge: constructing the particle collider (including labor costs) will exceed 1 trillion yen, with a yearly operating cost of 49 billion yen. This is why the approach is to greatly reduce the costs for the initial phase of the ILC by shrinking its length from 31 km to 20 km.
The decision by the national government on whether or not to host the ILC will take place around 2018, taking into account the deliberations being done by the Panel of Experts at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Over 200 people attended the seminar. Prof. Shinya Narita of the Department of Physical Science and Engineering at Iwate University also gave a lecture on the activities of the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office.