Chambers of Commerce of the Kesen region hold an ILC assembly open to the general public with 600 people in attendance

The original article was published in the Tohkai Shimpo. Read the original here.

The Liaison Committee for Chambers of Commerce in the Kesen region (southeastern area of Iwate) hosted an ILC assembly open to the general public on June 12th in the Rias Hall of Sakari, Ofunato City. It was held to boost enthusiasm for hosting the International Linear Collider in the Kitakami mountains of Iwate. Over 600 people from the Kesen region attended. There was a keynote speech and a proclamation for the ILC, and attendees agreed upon working to increase awareness of the ILC project and to prepare the area to receive the world’s most advanced particle physics research facility.

The Liaison Committee was founded in May 2017 by the Chamber of Commerces of Ofunato City, Rikuzentakata City, and Sumita Town. It is working to revitalize the region and to solve various challenges.

The ILC will be the world’s most advanced particle physics research facility with a large accelerator used for experiments. The Japanese candidate site is the Kitakami mountains that straddle Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, and the national government will make their final decision on hosting the project sometime from this year to next year.

The Liaison Committee has positioned the ILC as a project that will truly help the reconstruction of the Kesen region*, as it will bring immeasurable good to the region – not just economically, through industrial growth and an increase in jobs, but in science, education, and many other fields. In order to increase awareness in Kesen of the ILC, and to prepare the area for the project, the Committee held this ILC assembly as its first event.
*Kesen is located on the southern coast of Iwate, which was hard hit from the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami.

Liaison Committee President Saito said in his opening speech, “Hosting the ILC will be something that will foster dreams and hopes for the future of this region. Realizing the ILC will require government and private citizens of the region to join together as one and work harder than ever.”

Invited guests Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso (represented by Deputy Director General Takashi Kirino of the Iwate Coastal Development Bureau) and Ofunato Mayor Kimiaki Toda gave speeches where they hoped for increasing enthusiasm for the ILC.

Next, Jun Sasaki, Chairman and Executive Director of the Office of Science and ILC Promotion of the Iwate Prefectural Government, gave his keynote speech entitled, “Towards the realization of the ILC (International Linear Collider).” He gave an outline of the project as well as its chances of happening and how it would affect the region.

Director Sasaki explained that the smallest particles that make up matter are called elementary particles, and currently scientists have found 17 types of them. The ILC’s role will be to find particles that haven’t been discovered yet, and to recreate the conditions of the universe very shortly after the Big Bang.

Should the ILC be built in the Kitakami mountains, a straight tunnel would be built at a length of 31 km that would stretch from the eastern side of Oshu City to Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture. An accelerator would be placed there where researchers would accelerate and smash particles together. Director Sasaki stressed that the facility would be close to Kesen – only around 10 km away.

Construction costs are estimated to be around 1.1 trillion yen, including construction costs and related costs (such as for the detectors).

However, economic effects of the ILC are calculated at a gain of 4.4 trillion yen over 20 years, and an estimated increase of 255,000 jobs involved with construction and other related business.

Director Sasaki also talked about the activities of the national government, researchers, National Diet members, Tohoku, and Iwate.

The national government has allocated more money every year to ILC investigation and research: 50 million yen in F.Y. 2014, 80 million yen in F.Y. 2015 and 2016, and 110 million yen for F.Y. 2017 (suggested). “The national government has been setting aside money as it is a large project,” said Director Sasaki, showing that Japan is looking very closely at the ILC project.

“It’s important to know how we will change the region with the ILC (as opposed to how the ILC will change the region),” he said. As part of that, he offered the following facts:
① Many researchers and scientists will come to live in the region
② Businesses related to the ILC industry will develop close by
③ There will be a lot more exchange between people
“Thinking about these facts, and acting accordingly, will certainly lead to the revitalization of this region,” he said. He also added that there will be another relation to the ILC in that Ofunato Port and other parts of the sea surrounding the Kesen region will be needed to transport and store parts.

In conclusion, he said, “We can’t wait until after the ILC has arrived. We must develop the area now to support the ILC, realize the ILC, and to efficiently make use of the ILC.”

After the keynote speech, Liaison Committee Vice-chair Ito gave a proclamation. For the realization of the ILC, the Committee vowed to request the following.
▽A quick decision on hosting the ILC, and then a move to more specific processes
▽The quick creation of an area-wide system to receive the project, in for the ILC to fulfill its role
▽Concrete initiatives to provide a place that foreigners would like to live in
The whole audience agreed through applause.