Members of the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (Chair: Hon. Takeo Kawamura) have returned from 4 days in Washington DC to discuss the ILC project with representatives of Congress and officials with the Department of Energy. As the Trump administration indicates it will reduce the budget for science- and technology-related initiatives, the FDMILC delegation strengthened its push towards US Congress and businesses as well as confirmed intentions to aim for the ILC’s realization.
The delegation consisted of 10 people, including Chairman Kawamura (Liberal Democratic Party, House of Representatives, Yamaguchi 3rd District), Vice-chair Shunichi Suzuki (same, Iwate 2nd District), Managing Director Keisuke Tsumura (Democratic Progressive Party, proportional representative of the Chugoku region), and specially-appointed professor Satoru Yamashita of the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics for the University of Tokyo. They left Japan on April 30th, and held meetings with Congress members with a focus on advanced science, the Department of Energy, the Hudson Institute (a US thinktank), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
According to the FDMILC, there is some confusion on the ground, i.e., personnel not yet being hired in the Dept. of Energy thanks to the recent change in administrations. In their meetings, the FDMILC pushed Congress members to help realize the ILC project, as well as emphasized possible economic effects through participation by US businesses. It was also suggested that there was a need to gain the understanding of the Trump administration.
The ILC will be an international project consisting of a linear collider placed 100 meters underground that will unlock the mysteries of the origins of the universe. The Japanese national government is currently debating whether or not to host the project through a Panel of Experts, and are thought to make their decision sometime this year or next year. A huge issue is the international sharing of the over 1 trillion yen in construction costs, and the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) is considering ways to cut costs by reducing the size of the collider in its initial stages.