This month’s relay is brought to you by Mr. Koetsu Norita! If you’ve been to the IEEE NSS-MIC 2016 in Strasbourg, LCWS 2016 in Morioka, or LCWS 2017 in Strasbourg, you’ve probably seen Mr. Norita and his bright blue blazer at the Tohoku booth. Mr. Norita works at the Business Center of the Tohoku Economic Federation (Tokeiren), helping local businesses develop their marketing strategies. As the Tokeiren works closely with the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council, Mr. Norita has also had a lot of opportunities to get involved with the project over the last year.


Koetsu Norita
Survey Officer at the Tokeiren Business Center
Originally from Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture
Hobbies: Running and hiking

Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Aomori City, which has the highest snowfall out of any city in the world. My father grew apples, so I had to help with that as a kid. If it snowed in the morning, I had to get up early before school and shovel the snow. Then I had to shovel snow again when I came home. Then when my dad was about to come home, I had to shovel snow again. Once it hit November or so, I had to shovel just about every day. So I’ve got a very strong sense of perseverance. When the snow fell, I would go and shovel without complaining. And so the point of this story is that, with the ILC, I’ve been pretty good about just working hard and waiting patiently for it to be decided (laughs).

Mr. Norita (right) at DESY

At the Tokeiren Business Center I work with local companies to beef up their marketing strategies. Tohoku companies are not great at selling themselves. The only companies that can sell themselves are large companies because they have the money to spend on marketing. There’s no difference in the quality of products; it’s the lack of information about the product that is the issue. So what I do normally is work with local companies and share our expertise and networks with them.

How did you get involved with the ILC?

I’ve only been working with ILC initiatives since last year. The Tokeiren Business Center helps with the business aspect – getting local businesses involved that could help with the project. Before doing this as part of my job, I thought that the ILC was just a dream. Ten years ago, there was the ITER project that didn’t end up coming to Japan, so I thought maybe the ILC would end the same way. But once I started doing ILC work, my son asked me what I did. When I talked about the ILC, I saw how he had this very pure interest in the universe and science. The ILC is a dream for the children of today – the adults of tomorrow. I want to make their dreams come true.

Mr. Norita (right) in front of the Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN

I’ve also helped with informing the people of Tohoku about the ILC project. Iwate’s been doing a great job with their residents, but the rest of Tohoku still doesn’t know a lot about the ILC. We put out booths at “science days” and other events for elementary school students. Well, it’s pretty hard since they haven’t even learned about physics yet, but our goal is just to get them to remember the word “ILC.” In October, we did a booth at Osaki City in Miyagi with a hoop-throwing game for the kids. Each target had an elementary particle, and we put things like dark matter and the Higgs particle the farthest away. We also gave out Hello Kitty X Science pens and leaflets to all the kids that visited. We had about 700-800 children, and counting their guardians, we taught 1,800 people about the ILC.

How will the Tokeiren Business Center help to prepare Tohoku for the project?

The ILC will be so big that huge companies will naturally be first to put their hands up for bidding contracts. But since it’s such a great chance for Tohoku, it would be sad if only transnational corporations got to work on the ILC. In order to get more local companies involved, Tokeiren BC has a project called eEXPO, where businesses can sign up to share information with each other. We have a special section on accelerator-related industry, and as of right now we have about 100 companies signed up with us. We believe there’s about 700 companies in Tohoku right now that have the technology to be able to participate in creating the ILC. So first, we’ll try some different things with these 100 companies, and branch out from there. Of course, it would be so cool if a Tohoku company could create those cryomodules, but it doesn’t have to be that. It could be the platform you put the cryomodules on – there’s so many different small parts they could create.

Chatting with a researcher at the IEEE NSS-MIC 2016

What I come back to is something a company president in Tohoku has said: Tohoku companies need a bit of a push when it comes to taking that first step. With the accelerator business, you won’t make any profit for the first few years. But your technology level and skill won’t advance without challenging yourself, and in the end, that will lead to new profits for your company. The way to get over that first hurdle is to have everybody working together on this technology. Right now, we have 100 companies, and we can create teams of these companies, with one team going after making cryomodules, another team going after making the platform. Next year we’ll make a bunch of those teams. And we’ll share their expertise in the future.

Do you have any new developments to share with people abroad?

We’ve now gone abroad to conferences like the LCWS and IEEE, and met a lot of people involved with the ILC. I want to continue that direct conversation, so we hope this year to set up a mailing list that foreign researchers can sign up to get periodic direct updates about how the ILC is going in Japan. Maybe we can show that the project really is moving in Japan, albeit slowly, if they get a constant stream of information.

Chatting with a researcher at the IEEE NSS-MIC 2016

What do you think would get more people interested in the ILC?

I think you need a lot of fun events to get more people interested. For example, the ILC’s initial phase will start at 20km long. That’s about the size of a half-marathon, so you could hold a race (above ground) that follows the entire beam line. If it’s lengthened to 30km, have a 30km marathon – and eventually hold a full marathon when it’s lengthened to 50km. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?

Any other thoughts?

The Kitakami candidate site for the ILC is quite close to the Michinoku Coastal Trail (a 700km long trail spanning the Pacific Coast of Japan from Aomori to Fukushima). There’s a similar trail in America called the Pacific Crest Trail, with through-hikers that hike the whole thing. But there’s also people who just come for fun, spending a few hours or a few days. In all, tens of millions of people have visited the PCT. I’d love for MCT to be like that. It could even be kind of like a pilgrimage, like the Camino de Santiago in Europe (a major Christian pilgrimage route). There’s millions of people who walk that path. You could journey to a number of spots on the MCT that were directly affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. I think the foreign researchers would be interested in that.

Mr. Norita wears a “happi” coast with a large emblem for Tohoku, Japan


ILCリレー ⑥

今月のリレーは乗田光悦さんを紹介します!2016年のIEEE NSS-MIC国際学会(ストラスブール)やLCWS2016(盛岡市)及びLCWS2017(ストラスブール)にて、青いブレーザーを着て東北を紹介する乗田さんのことは、海外研究者の方はよくご存じかもしれません。普段は、乗田さんは東北経済連合会(東経連)のビジネスセンター(BC)で、地元の企業のマーケティング戦略の構築を支援しています。東経連BCは東北ILC推進協議会と密着した協力をしているため、この1年間で乗田さんが様々なILC関連の取り組みに参加してきました。


「出身は、世界で最も雪の積もる都市・青森市です。父親はリンゴ栽培をやっていて、子供の頃は手伝いをしました。雪が降ったら、学校に行く前に朝早く起きて雪かきをしなければならなかったです。学校から帰って、また雪かきをしました。そして、お父さんが帰りそうな時間になったら、もう一度雪かきをしていました。11月から、毎日雪かきをしなければならかったです。そのため、辛抱強い性格です。雪が降ると、文句を言わずに雪かきをやっていました。-というわけで、ILCに関しても、私は辛抱強く待っていられます。(笑) 」







IEEE NSS-MIC 2016で研究者と話す乗田さん



IEEE NSS-MIC 2016で研究者と話す乗田さん

「たくさんの人に興味を持ってもらえるように、楽しく迎え入れることが必要かと思います。例えば、ステージングで20kmからスタートしますので、ILCのビームラインの地上で、 最初はILCハーフマラソン、30kmに向けて30kmマラソン、50kmに向けてフルマラソンができたら、楽しいでしょうね!」