First ILC Seminar for the Federation of Ofunato City Assemblymen for the ILC

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

The Federation of Ofunato City Assemblymen for the ILC (FOAILC, Chair: Akihiro Kumagai, City Assembly Chair) held a seminar on August 2nd at the Ofunato City Hall. There, Executive Director Jun Sasaki of Iwate Prefecture’s Office of Science and ILC Promotion gave a presentation on the ILC. The city assemblymen deepened their understanding of the ILC project (which would be sited in the nearby Kitakami mountains), and vowed to use that knowledge in broadening their efforts.

The FOAILC was formed in June 2017 to help support the ILC, which would develop and re-energize the region’s economy through the use of Ofunato’s port, building new infrastructure like roads, increasing exchange, and creating opportunities for industry and employment. This seminar was their first event since their formation.

Around 40 assemblymen and city workers were in attendance. After Vice-chair Wakao Kimuro gave an opening speech, Mr. Sasaki was introduced and started his presentation.

His presentation was entitled “Towards the realization of the ILC,” and he gave an outline on the ILC project, its current status, and how it would affect the development of the region.

The ILC, if realized, would be the world’s most advanced particle physics research facility in the world, housing a huge particle collider for experiments. Its candidate site is in the Kitakami mountains that straddle Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, and the national government is said to make a decision on hosting the ILC sometime by the end of this year to next year.

Mr. Sasaki said the ILC’s role would be, “a large device that can recreate the time immediately following the beginnings of the universe. It will be a place where humanity will try to solve the fundamental mysteries of physics.”

He also spoke about the schedule going forward, construction costs and economic effects, and how the national government and other stakeholders were moving forward.

Should the national government decide to host the ILC, “I’ve heard many different things, but currently we think that construction on the ILC would start just about when the Tokyo Olympics wraps up.”

The various parts and devices used in the ILC’s particle detectors and other machines would be mostly shipped from abroad. Mr. Sasaki added that the Ofunato port was the closest port to the Kitakami mountains, and he would expect it would be used receive parts.

Finally, he called for cooperation in pushing the ILC project forward. “The ILC would focus on fundamental science research, but it holds large potential for new technology and new trends. It depends on how much effort we put into it. We can use our knowledge and know-how to help the ILC make use of the region’s potential, strengths, and weaknesses. I hope we can make a platform for researchers to live in Iwate and know how great it is.”

He took questions after his presentation, where attendees asked about the schedule going forward, how to best use the port, what infrastructure/roads would be created for accessing the inland areas, and who would be responsible for the costs. It was a good opportunity for the FOAILC to think about future initiatives to put in place.