Approaching a final decision – the Science Council of Japan forms a committee to deliberate on the ILC

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (July 27th edition). Read the original here.

The national government’s Science Council of Japan (chief: Juichi Yamagiwa, president of Kyoto University) had an executive committee meeting on June 26th, where they motioned to form a committee to deliberate on the revised ILC plan. The international scientific community has been urging the Japanese government to make their intentions on the ILC clear by the end of this year, and this marks the final stage of deliberations before the national government will make a decision whether or not to host the project.

The committee is made up of ten members, including Yasuhiro Iye (Director of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) and Masako Yoneda (Specially appointed professor at Keio University’s Advanced Research Center). They will hear from people related to the ILC project, and closely examine how the project will fit in with the science field as a whole, its significance to the people of Japan and to society, and its cost-effectiveness.

Within the committee, they will also have a working group that will verify the technology involved (7 members). They will closely examine and verify the scientific feasibility of the collider, costs, economic spillover effects, and its effect on the environment.

The ILC will be the world’s most advanced particle physics collider, but cutting down the costs of construction has been a large hurdle. The project was originally set to be built at around 31-50 km long, but in order to reduce costs and take into account improvements in technology, the International Committee for Future Accelerators decided to reduce the initial length of the ILC to 20 km.

Because of this, the Panel of Experts at the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology met to reevaluate the significance of the project. Earlier in July, they put together their report that recognized that the ILC would be a scientifically important project, and asked the Science Council of Japan to closely evaluate their findings.

The working group will meet for the first time on August 8th, and the committee will meet on August 10th. President Yamagiwa said at a press conference, “We are being asked to figure out what kind of discoveries the ILC can make. That is what we most want to verify.” Professor Yoneda said, “We hope to evaluate the project and come up with a conclusion as quickly as possible.”