Three members of the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (FDMILC) made a three-day trip to the United States on February 11 and have returned to Japan. This was the first US-Japan Political Leaders’ Forum on Science and Technology, and they confirmed their intentions to continue holding such forums with the involved US politicians. It was also an opportunity to meet with government officials and major scientists. Reporter Hiroaki Kumagai asked FDMILC secretary-general and Diet Member Ryu Shionoya (Shizuoka 8th district) about the visit and future developments.
This was an opportunity to communicate with members of US Congress who have an interest in the ILC. What was their feedback?
“Japan is a leader in the field of elementary particle physics, and researchers around the world are looking to us to host the project. The biggest bottleneck is pushing forward with cooperative talks between involved nations, including talking about the financial aspect. The US and Japan’s relationship is especially vital.”
“We have visited the United States once a year for the past three years and have talked to many about the topic. This time our aim was to start this political forum as a continuing series of forums as we move forward towards the ILC. Unfortunately, Congress members were unable to attend the forum due to Congress still being in session, but on the days preceding and following we were able to meet with a number of Congress members to communicate our will, and we agreed on many things. In that sense, the result of this visit was that we were able to mutally communicate our intentions.”
What kind of opinions were exchanged with the officials from the Department of Energy (Japan’s equivalent being MEXT)?
“As a next step, the US wants concrete proposals on how the ILC will be run, a rough scale of its budget, and what kind of role they will need to take on. We spoke about how there needs to be a plan presented at its current state with the supposition being that Japan will start the project. The Department of Energy agreed with that, and we once again confirmed that we will continue these talks in the future.”
“In the future I will be talking with MEXT to convey that the US will deliberate on the ILC when they have the Japanese proposal in front of them. Technical research is continuing at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and its results will be out in about two years. The costs may go down if the technology is improved , and then we can edit the plan.”
The American researchers and experts also showed us in a number of ways how much they’d like Japan to host the project.
“We saw that the US side is very forward-thinking about the ILC project. Once again, we were able to confirm its significance in developing technology and science, industry, security, and a number of other areas. We will be working towards holding the next forum in Japan.”
ILC Promotion Council members and other officials from the area around the Kitakami mountain site and others from the Tohoku region came along on this trip to show how much the local area is doing for the ILC. What sort of initiatives would you like to see from the local area in the future?
“It is vital that we do as much as we can to communicate to the people of Japan the achievements possible with the ILC and its economic effects. That’s why we must produce clearer explanations of the project. The realization of the ILC will get ever closer as people from many different fields work towards it.”