MEXT Minister: “I’d like to continue to work hard” towards realization of ILC

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (February 26th edition). Read the original here.

(Reporting from the Tokyo Bureau)

At the budget committee working meeting at the House of Representatives on February 25th, Hagiuda Koichi, minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) said, “In order for Japan to become the host of the ILC, it is important that Europe and the US evaluate us (to be suited to the project). I’d like to continue to work hard.” Including the recent announcement of the government’s view of the project at the ICFA meeting in the United States, this showed the government’s stance that it would push forth discussions with various countries.

Minister Hagiuda was responding to a question from Hon. Shina Takeshi, a Diet Member of the House of Representatives (Iwate 1st district) not affiliated with any party. Minister Hagiuda said, “If anything, I think we should challenge ourselves (to realize the ILC).” However, with concerns about the immense cost of the project, he said, “Without being able to see what cooperation we would receive from other countries, we would not say yes.” He stressed, “It’s important that the people in US and Europe evaluate Japan as being a safe spot to build the ILC; that they can do good research here.”

At the previous ICFA meeting, MEXT explained its understanding was that the UK, France, and Germany did not have the financial capability at this time (for international cost-sharing). At the working meeting, Masuko Hiroshi, deputy director of MEXT’s Research Promotion Bureau, spoke about the subject. “If the ILC is included within the next European particle physics strategy to be established in May, then there is a chance that each country would change their minds.”

MEXT will go on to evaluate high-priority projects for its large-scale scientific research road map. Murata Yoshinori, Director-General of MEXT’s Research Promotion Bureau, explained, “If it’s an international project, then we have to confirm concrete details including funding from abroad. Even with large projects that require immense budgets, they need to show us a plan with concrete details about securing operational costs.”

The previous ICFA meeting was a meeting for the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), held on February 21st- 23rd (Japan time) in California, USA. There, MEXT announced the national government’s position on the ILC: “In consideration of its certain scientific significance in particle physics, MEXT will continue to discuss the ILC project with the US and the European counterparts while having an interest in the project.”