Accelerating preparations to apply for “special zone” status – A report from the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo. Read the original here.

The Tohoku ILC Preparation Office was created in June 2016 to help bring about the ILC project, and on December 16th, they held a report on their activities in Sendai City. Director of the office, Atsuto Suzuki (president of Iwate Prefectural University), indicated a policy to accelerate its efforts, which include preparing to apply for special zone status* needed for the ILC, and deliberating how to build an international research facility that doesn’t greatly burden the environment.

130 members of the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council (which opened the Office) were in attendance. President Suzuki explained that they were proceeding to apply for strategic zone status as it was necessary for the project. Such status will simplify paperwork for foreign researchers moving to Japan, as well as ease requirements for using equipment that is heavily regulated.

As for the construction of a world-class international research facility, he said they were deliberating on using Iwate-sourced materials, and establishing technology that could use the ILC’s exhaust heat as renewable energy.

The ILC will be a massive experimental particle physics lab that will unlock the mysteries of the universe’s origins. The leading candidate site for the project is the Kitakami mountains (Kitakami highlands) in Iwate Prefecture. The Japanese national government is thought to make its decision on hosting the project from the end of 2017 to sometime in 2018.

*Japan’s National Strategic Special Zones
National Strategic Special Zones are an initiative set up by the national government to establish brand-new economic zones with business/globalization-friendly conditions by means of promoting deregulations.