Hon. Ryu Shionoya (LDP, Shizuoka 8th district) serves as the secretary-general of the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (FDMILC), which is a non-partisan group of national parliament members working together to bring about the ILC in the Kitakami mountains. On June 29th, he stated that the FDMILC has entered deliberations to get a separate budget for constructing the ILC, separate from the primary budget set up for science research. He also gave a speech at the kick off ceremony for the 100-person Committee for the ILC, held on the same day at the International House of Japan in Minato ward, Tokyo. Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be visiting France in July, Hon. Shionoya also said, “I hope to get him to bring up the ILC during his talks with President Macron.”
The ILC will aim to unlock the secrets of the origins of the universe, and will be the only particle physics research facility of its kind in the world. If the ILC is realized, it will be the first truly international research facility in Japan. The project will not only be scientifically important, but will also have positive effects on the economy as well as train workers, which is why some in the Kitakami mountains and its surrounding cities are calling for the project. The scientific community states that the Japanese government must make its intentions clear this year, as they must get the ILC reflected in the next European 5-year strategy for particle physics.
However, a huge amount of money will be needed to construct and operate the ILC. Playing it cautiously has its benefits, because of possible effects the ILC would have on national and local government finances, and on other fields of science research.
The 100-person Committee for the ILC was founded by Hiroya Masuda, former governor of Iwate Prefecture. The committee members include experts and famous people from the financial and cultural sectors, and they will work together with the FDMILC and other organization to deepen understanding of the ILC to the people of Japan, as well as encourage the national government to make a decision.
At the kick off ceremony, Mr. Masuda said, “This will be a grand project on a scale that Japan has never tried before. The walls before us stand tall, so I hope to make an environment where the people of Japan can have a say and come to support the project.”
Hon. Shionoya, who was at the ceremony as a guest, said, “The biggest bottleneck before us is the budget. Since scientists in other fields are worried that their budgets will be slashed, I hope by as early as next week to create a space where we can deliberate on getting a separate budget for the ILC as a national project. I hope to get the national government to give a positive message in some form or another this year.”
Also on the same day, director of the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office, Atsuto Suzuki (also president of Iwate Prefectural University), gave a presentation on the ILC project and its current status.
Members of the committee numbered 129 as of June 26th. As members are participating as individuals, the committee office has not released information on what positions and what organizations members belong to.