There is only one month left until the March 7th deadline (set by international researchers) for the national government to express its intentions on the ILC. The Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council held a seminar on the ILC in a Morioka hotel on February 6th in order to reaffirm the importance of the project, raise interest, and urge the national government to make a positive decision. The Science Council of Japan (SCJ) has raised international cost-sharing as an issue for the ILC, so will the national government first make an expression of intent so international negotiations can begin? We are now at the final stage of the movement to bring the ILC to Japan.
Around 250 people were in attendance, including officials from local governments and business organizations. Iwate ILC Promotion Council Chair Kunihisa Yamura (also head of the Federation of the Iwate Chambers of Commerce) said in his opening speech, “The ILC will be a huge national project of immense importance. Now that we only have one month left (until a decision), we will accelerate our activities from Iwate to Tohoku, and from Tohoku to all of Japan, in order to urge the national government to make its intentions clear.”
Professor emeritus Masakazu Yoshioka of KEK (a visiting professor at Iwate University and Iwate Prefectural University), talked about the benefits the ILC would have on the region, as well as its potential for creating new industries in relation to particle accelerators.
Iwate Prefectural University President Atsuto Suzuki (also director of the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office) talked about the latest happenings around the world regarding the ILC. He stated, “If we could just get an expression of intent from the Japanese government, then we could start government negotiations to figure out how to share the costs internationally. The ILC would be the first international laboratory in Asia. In the past, governments have taken the lead on big projects, so I have high hopes in the Japanese government’s decision on the ILC.”
It was made clear that all that is necessary from the national government is a “strong expression of interest” in the project, and that a final decision can be made after cost-sharing negotiations.
In December of last year, the Linear Collider Collaboration (the international group of scientists pushing forth the ILC) said that they needed an expression of intent from the Japanese government by March 7th. As we approach that deadline, related officials are working harder than ever. A group of Liberal Democratic Party politicians from Hokkaido and Tohoku will visit the Prime Minister’s residence to speak with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on February 8th to urge the government to decide on the ILC. The Federation of Diet Members for the ILC will also hold a meeting soon, and they have demonstrated that they will begin directly urging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet.