A joint group of Iwate & Miyagi Assembly Members for the ILC to formally petition the national government on 12/18

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (December 13th). Read the original here.

The Prefectural Assemblies of both Iwate and Miyagi prefectures have banded together to create a joint Federation of Assembly Members for the ILC. They will petition Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and other representatives of the national government on December 18th. Expectations are rising for the ILC because of recent construction cost reductions, and the joint group will deepen the ties between the two prefectures, and strengthen their calls on the national government to make a speedy decision to realize the ILC.

The Iwate/Miyagi group consists of 97 assembly members. Leading the group will be Junichi Sasaki (Chair of the Iwate Prefectural Assembly) and Motoharu Nakashima (Chair of the Miyagi Prefectural Assembly). The group was formed on December 11th.

On December 18th, around 20 members of the group will meet with Secretary Suga as well as Speaker of the House of Representatives Tadamori Oshima, Olympics Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera, and others. They will communicate the passion of the local areas for the ILC, as well as urge the national government to deliberate on how to use the ILC to revitalize the region as well as to make a speedy decision to realize the project.

Assembly Chair Sasaki said, “The deadline for the decision on hosting the ILC in Japan is approaching next year, which is why this year is so important for calling on the government. Our two prefectures will come together to ask the national government to make their intentions clear.”

The ILC will be a linear particle collider placed in a tunnel underground, and is an international project dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of the origins of the universe. The world’s leading candidate site is the Kitakami mountains that lie in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.

In November, the International Committee for Future Accelerators, made up of the leaders of major collider facilities around the globe, decided to reduce the initial length of the ILC from 31 km to 20 km. Costs are predicted to drop to up to 40%, which the Japanese government will take into account along with the opinions of its Panel of Experts, as it heads toward making a decision in 2018.

Both prefectural assemblies created their own group for the ILC in March 2013. Iwate’s group consists of all of its 47 assembly members, and they have made official requests to the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC, and other related organizations.