As we reported last year, Ofunato on the coast of Iwate has been working hard to be a part of the ILC effort. The busy area of town is right by the port, as the area has long been supported by the fishing industry. Ofunato’s port can accept ships large and small, and could be used as an inspection point and way-station for shipping parts to the ILC site.

As Ofunato would also be the close to the candidate site, anticipation is high that the city will have a role in the project, and to that end, they officially opened their ILC office on December 1st, 2017. We met a director at the office last year when the office opened, who is hard at work developing plans for port usage, tourism/residential development, and ILC awareness among the citizens of Ofunato.

Toru Niinuma

This post is a slightly bigger version of an interview that ran on People of Iwate in January 2017. Check out People of Iwate to meet more of the people who could be your neighbors one day!

Why did Ofunato create an office for the ILC?

“When the ICFA (International Committee for Future Accelerators) decided to reduce the length of the initial stage from 30km to 20km in November 2017, it made it comparatively more likely that the ILC would actually become a reality. We certainly think Ofunato City can closely develop in tandem with the ILC, and so we created this office. We’re the closest port to the candidate site and we think we could be a very important local resource. The port could also be used to receive and store parts that would shipped in to build the ILC. Plus, the rest of the prefecture is also working towards the ILC, and we wanted to be a part of that.”

The port at Ofunato

What are your office’s plans for the future?

“We’ll hold symposiums and seminars for students and the general public, because we must raise the awareness of the people of Ofunato of the ILC project. In order to host the foreign researchers, we have to work with the people of Ofunato. Creating new housing, developing medical care, making our tourist areas more accessible to international visitors – it doesn’t even have to be directly related to the ILC, because these are necessary in general.


An ILC assembly held in Ofunato by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce in the Kesen Region

“In the 2018 fiscal year, we will be creating two large plans. One will be a vision for developing the town together with the ILC, and the other will be a plan for using the port and related facilities. We are acting on the expectation ILC will be built, but even if it isn’t, these are things we need to work on. That’s what we hope for, and what would be most significant for Ofunato. All of Ofunato, all of Iwate, all of Tohoku, working together to bring the ILC to the Kitakami mountains.”

How do you feel about being part of the ILC effort?

“On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck Ofunato and the rest of the eastern coast of Japan. I immediately was transferred to the city’s reconstruction bureau, where for three years after the disaster I helped to plan our reconstruction, talking with the residents of Ofunato. From that stage, I didn’t know anything about the ILC, or whether or not it would actually happen. I thought, first off, let’s finish reconstructing! But in a way, I knew Ofunato as a government would get involved with the ILC, and I started learning more, and I saw that this would be great for our future. Ofunato has lots of forward-looking people even though they suffered such a tragic disaster. We have an obligation to pass on the lessons we learned from the disaster. I want to convey to the world that we’re doing our best, and we’re appreciative of all people have done for us. The best way to do that is through the ILC.”

Ofunato, working to rebuild itself

All About Ofunato

Ofunato is a city on the southern coast of Iwate home to 37,000 people. It’s known for its natural beauty, including spots like the Goishi Coast and the Mount Goyo Prefectural Park.

The fishing and marine products industries serve as the base of Ofunato’s economy, and it boasts the largest catch of sanma (Pacific saury) on Honshu, which is the main island of Japan. Every autumn, scores of people descend on Ofunato for a taste of grilled sanma at its Sanma Festival.

Ofunato is also famous for its camellia flowers, with many varieties being raised at the World Camellia House at the Goishi Coast.

Want to learn more about Ofunato?

Spotlight on Ofunato and the ILC

People of Ofunato (part of People of Iwate)

Learn more about the southern coastal region of Iwate (called “Kesen”)


大船渡市ILC推進室次長 新沼徹さん

昨年もKITAKAMI TIMESで紹介しましたが、 岩手県大船渡市がILC誘致実現に向けて様々な取組を実施しています。昔から水産業に支えられている大船渡では、港が街の中でも活発的な地区になっています。港は小さい船から大きい船まで受け入れることができ、将来、ILC部品の受け入れ検査や保管するストックヤードとして活用される可能性があります。


この記事は、岩手県民を紹介する英語ブログ「People of Iwate」に2017年1月に掲載されたものに、さらに詳細を追記したものです。「People of Iwate」では、“将来の近所の人”を毎週お届けしていますので、こちらも併せてご覧ください!(

Q) なぜILC推進室が大船渡に設置されましたか。


Q) 大船渡市ILC推進室の今後の予定は?



Q) ILCと関わって、どんな気持ちですか。