Looking into how to prepare the surrounding environment for the ILC – Working group within MEXT’s Panel of Experts

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (April 25th edition). Read the original here.

Within the Panel of Experts deliberating on the ILC for the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, Sports and Culture (MEXT) is the Working Group for the Verification of Methods of Structure and Management (Chief: Shoken Miyama, former head of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan). The working group held their third meeting on April 24th to look into how to prepare the environment (that surrounds the candidate site) for the ILC.

One of the members, Michio Kitamura (professor at Hokkaido University’s Graduate School), gave an explanation based largely on the report put together in 2014 by KEK and Nomura Research Institute. According to the report, the total population within the research zone during the construction period (10 years) will peak around 7,700 people. This includes researchers, engineers, maintenance workers, operators, and their families. Ten years after construction is completed and the ILC has started operations, an estimated 6,300 people will live in the area, with around 3,140 of them being foreign.

The working group members debated requirements for the residential environment surrounding the ILC, such as housing and educational facilities. Some opinions included, “Who will take responsibility for preparing the residential environment? The ILC member countries, or the local governments?” and “We must create a relationship of trust with the local community from an early stage.”

The Kitakami mountain range of Iwate Prefecture is the leading candidate site for the ILC project. This working group will prepare their report by July. The Japanese government will take into account the deliberations undergone by the Panel of Experts, and is thought to make their decision on whether or not to host the ILC by the end of 2017 to sometime in 2018.