ILC Survey: “Interest in the ILC” rises to 63%

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo. Read the original here.

Graph shown: “Interest in the ILC Project”

I’m interested in the ILC: 34.8%
I’m a little interested in the ILC: 28.4%
I’m not really interested in the ILC: 16.7%
I’m not interested in the ILC: 9.1%
I don’t know/No answer: 11.0%

In this survey, “I’m interested in the ILC” and “I’m a little interested in the ILC” together total 63.2%. This is a 2.2 point rise from our last survey on the ILC, a project that Tohoku academia, industry, and government officials are striving to make a reality.

34.8% of participants answered “I’m interested in the ILC” (a 3.7 point rise), and 28.4 answered “I’m a little interested in the ILC” (a 1.5 point decline).

Broken down by age, the following generations answered either “I’m interested” or “I’m a little interested”:

– (10-19) 80.0%
– (20-29) 52.1%
– (30-39) 61.1%
– (40-49) 59.3%
– (50-70) 64.4-67.5%

Teenagers had the highest interest, with people of child-raising age tending to be less interested.

The Kitakami mountains (Kitakami highlands) spread through Oshu City (inland), Ichinoseki City (inland), and Kesennuma City (coast), and are the candidate site for the ILC. 65.4% of inland dwellers were interested in the ILC (a 0.3 point rise), and 53.3% of coastal dwellers were interested (a 12.6 point rise). The gap between these two regions is getting smaller, but there is still work to be done.

On the other hand, 9.1% of participants answered “I’m not really interested” (a 2.6 point decline) and 16.7% answered “I’m not interested” (a 1.0 point rise).

The participants most desired effect of the ILC was “more employment and the birth of new industry,” which was the most popular answer at 37.0%. 20.1% answered “internationalization of the region and interaction with other cultures,” and 13.6% answered “a stop-gap against population decline and depopulation.”

Perspective: National awareness is a must

Hiroaki Kumagai – Reporting Department

In 2013, for all intents and purposes, the Kitakami mountains (Kitakami highlands) of Iwate Prefecture were selected as the candidate site for the ILC. Since our survey in 2013, interest in the ILC has risen to 61-68%. There are some differences between age groups, but the Iwate people have high interest and expectations about the project.

Last year, discussions were kicked off between Diet members and Congress/Parliamentary members in the U.S. and Europe, and during the LCWS held in Iwate, approaches were recognized to reduce the construction costs of the ILC (1.1 trillion yen). It was a year of progress towards the realization of the ILC.

The Japanese national government is thought to make its decision around the end of 2017 to around 2018. If they make the decision, there is a high possibility that the ILC will be created. However, if the decision is delayed, foreign researchers indicate that there is a possibility the ILC will move to another candidate site outside of Japan.

The Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council (Chair: Kunihisa Yamura, Head of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Iwate) will soon release numbers on economic spillover effects and innovation from the ILC. It is thought to become material that will encourage the government to make their decision.

In order for Japan to take on this massive investment and create this international city of science with no previous example in Japan, it needs the awareness and participation of its people. This year, the effort to spread that information will become even more crucial.