This month, a delegation of Japan’s non-partisan Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (FDMILC) visited France and Germany to talk with government officials about the ILC. Their main goal was to create a framework of international cooperation that would be vital in realizing the project. Prof. Atsuto Suzuki, head of the Tohoku ILC Planning Office and President of Iwate Prefectural University, also joined in on the trip. After returning to Japan, he spoke with Iwate Nippo: “The elected representatives and government officials of both countries were open to cooperating on the ILC. I hope to expand these talks to the rest of Europe in the future.”
There were 15 members of the delegation, including FDMILC Secretary General Hon. Ryu Shionoya and other Diet members, along with researchers and representatives from industry, finance/business, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. From January 8-11, they met with French and German Parliament members and government officials to talk about Japan’s thoughts on the ILC project, and also explained how it would be different from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. They also exchanged opinions on cost-sharing, and how to get industry involved with the project.
According to Prof. Suzuki, both countries indicated that they hoped for Japan to show leadership on the project and to also push forward negotiations about cost-sharing. France has the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and Switzerland has CERN, so Prof. Suzuki reflected that “the atmosphere was that they were open to giving us their knowledge about building these sorts of huge projects, so let’s move forward with negotiations.”
Prof. Suzuki said, “We have reaffirmed that it is crucial to cooperate not just with the ILC but in the entire field of science and technology. Both France and Germany are highly anticipating the project, and strongly indicated that they wanted Japan to develop a cooperative framework to help realize the project.”
In the latter half of 2018, Europe will be working to establish its next 5-year plan for particle physics, so this is a crucial moment for the ILC effort. French/German officials at these meetings said they would work to get the ILC written into the next strategy should the Japanese national government show its stance on the ILC by that time.
From this point, framework-building for international cooperation must branch out from France and Germany to the rest of Europe. Prof. Suzuki said, “It will be key to push forward negotiations with a Japan-Europe framework. Concurrently with negotiations at the Science Council of Japan, researchers and businesses should be at the forefront of negotiations with Europe.”