Officials of the Iwate Prefectural Government are no strangers to Strasbourg, France: We teamed up with the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council for last year’s IEEE to set up a booth showcasing the ILC project as well as the charms of Iwate and the entire region of Tohoku. This time, we once again visited the beautiful city in late October for Linear Collider Workshop 2017. While the Japanese national government has not moved on the project in the interim since LCWS 2016 in Morioka, we wanted to make sure that all of our friends abroad knew that Iwate and Tohoku are still working their hardest on making the ILC project come to fruition.

Perhaps the largest step forward was the support pledged by Mr. Olivier Becht, a member of French Parliament (National Assembly), and Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, a member of German Parliament (Bundestag). Both were in attendance during the outlook session for the ILC, and they gave speeches on how the ILC would be a large step forward for particle physics.

At the Alsatian Museum in Strasbourg – I didn’t forget to bring along Iwate’s mascot, Sobacchi!

Some other welcome guests were three members of the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC who called in from Japan: Hon. Takeo Kawamura (chair of the FDMILC), Hon. Ryu Shionoya (secretary-general of the FDMILC), and Hon. Tatsuo Hirano. “We have been explaining the project to Prime Minister Abe,” said Hon. Kawamura, reassuring the researchers that Japan is still deliberating and taking the project very seriously.

The power of technology – the conference call from Japanese Diet members

In other news at LCWS, the Advanced Accelerator Association Promoting Science & Technology and the Tohoku ILC Planning Office/Tohoku Economic Federation were also in attendance, meaning we had a lot of great informal exchange with a number of players in the ILC effort. Of course, Iwate was there in full force with its joint booth with the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council, showing off the Tohoku area. Participating researchers and scientists were able to chat with local government employees about life in the area and how the region is working to make the project a reality.

Chatting with researchers

One of the most interesting chats we had was about the “atmosphere” of this year’s LCWS. “Earlier this year, we were frankly quite pessimistic on whether the ILC would be built or not,” said one participant. “But seeing how hard you in Iwate and Tohoku are working, at the local level, makes us extremely hopeful that the ILC will someday become a reality.”

Messages from Researchers for the ILC – Click to enlarge

The reception on October 26th was also a highlight, where we witnessed the signing of a memorandum between KEK and the University of Strasbourg for a joint research project. “Someday,” chuckled KEK Director-General Masanori Yamauchi, “we will be signing a similar memorandum for the ILC.” We hope so too!

Networking over Alsatian wine

Iwate Prefecture’s Senior Executive Director Hisashi Odaira gave a speech at a lunch reception on the last day, basically reiterating that Iwate was preparing for the project and looking forward to welcoming everyone in Tohoku for the ILC. Good conversation was had with the participants, and we came away feeling like we strengthened our ties with the ILC community. It was truly a memorable experience to go to such an international event, in such an international city.

Strasbourg – always a beautiful place to visit

But our work is only beginning. Not only has ICFA declared that the ILC should be built at a smaller 250GeV energy level at first, leading to cost reductions of up to 40%, but Europe will begin planning its next five-year physics strategy in summer of 2018 – making it crucial that Japan voices its intentions by that point. Us in the local government will continue to urge the national government to make a speedy decision.

We can only hope that this is this is the year with an indication from Japan on hosting the project. There is a sense now that things are moving forward…at long last!

From the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council:

The following is a mini-report from Council member Koetsu Norita, translated by Amanda Wayama. The Tohoku ILC Promotion Council works to bring all of Tohoku (the northern region of Japan) together to help bring about the ILC, and they had a big showing at LCWS 2017 along with Iwate Prefecture.

Industrial Session at LCWS 2017

Mr. Hiroaki Takahashi, joint-chief of the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council, spoke at the Industrial Session held for researchers and scientists involved with the ILC. There, he talked about how passionate the Tohoku area of Japan was about the project, while Professor Masakazu Yoshioka of Tohoku University gave a presentation on the activities of the Tohoku ILC Planning Office. Plus, representatives from two local companies were there to talk about their ILC-related technology: Ms. Yuko Akabane, CEO of TDC in Miyagi Prefecture, and Mr. Toshiyo Eto, CEO of Taiyo EB Teck in Yamagata Prefecture (part of the Taiyo Group).

TDC CEO Ms. Akabane gives a presentation on their unique polishing technology that could be used to contribute to the ILC

Welcome reception from the city of Strasbourg

The Japanese representatives were able to meet and mingle with various key people at many of the events of LCWS like the reception held by Strasbourg on October 26th, including parliament members from Germany and France, who pledged their support should Japan host the project.

Joint-chair Takahashi with Ms. Catherine Trautmann, former Minister of Culture of France and EU Parliamentaran. She was very encouraging of the ILC, saying she’d like to play a role in bringing Europe together for the ILC.

Outlook Session at LCWS 2017

On the last day of LCWS 2017, Prof. Atsuto Suzuki (director of the Tohoku ILC Planning Office, and president of Iwate Prefectural University) gave a presentation on his office’s activities for the researchers in attendance. This was a wonderful opportunity to talk about Japanese/Tohoku initiatives to realize the ILC.





左: 国際研究所の研究者と話している作者
右: 日本からの訪問団とマーク・ウィンターさんを含めたLCWS 2017実行委員会メンバー


~ 岩手県のマスコットキャラクターそばっちと一緒に~


















Catherine Trautmann EU議会議員・元仏文化大臣と高橋東北ILC推進協議会代表。この他にも、「ILC実現に向けて、欧州全体を巻き込むような役割を果たしたい」など、前向きなコメントをいただきました!