The Japanese government is set to make their position on the ILC clear on March 7th, the deadline set by international scientists for moving forward on the ILC. On February 27th, the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council (chair: Hiroaki Takahashi, honorary chairman of the Tohoku Economic Federation) made a last-minute visit to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to urge them to make a positive decision and to start international negotiations.
Mr. Takahashi, Shigeki Chiba (Vice-governor of Iwate), Osamu Katsube (Mayor of Ichinoseki), Masaki Ozawa (Mayor of Oshu), Kunihisa Yamura (chair of the Iwate ILC Promotion Council), and another 13 people visited MEXT to hand their petition to Hon. Takaki Shirasuka, vice-minister of MEXT. The petition called for the Japanese government to make a positive decision on the ILC by the March 7th date, and to start negotiations with other countries involved with the ILC.
On the same day, Koki Sato (Chair of the Ichinoseki Chamber of Commerce) also handed over a similar petition from people involved with the ILC in Ichinoseki City and Hiraizumi Town.
Their talk was closed to the public. According to those in attendance, Hon. Shirasuka said that MEXT was currently gathering opinions from other government ministries. Afterwards, Mr. Takahashi said, “I felt that he was very positive when receiving our petition. I’m expecting that the government will also give a positive decision on March 7th.”
Mayor Katsube said, “As city involved with the project, I think we did our best to pass on our last petition.” Mayor Ozawa said, “We were able to convey our passion for a project we have been working on for around 30 years.”
The International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), an organization of leaders of the world’s major particle physics labs, will be meeting in Tokyo on March 7th. They have stated that the March 7th meeting is the deadline for the Japanese government to give an EOI for the ILC.