On January 21st, Consul Justin Tull of the United States Consulate General in Sapporo visited Mizusawa ward to view part of the the candidate site for ILC construction, listening to reports of efforts to invite the ILC and opinions from local residents. Mr. Tull stated, “If the ILC is realized, I think that it will bring about good changes to Japan.”
The US Consulate General in Sapporo’s district contains Iwate, Miyagi, Aomori, Akita and Hokkaido. Mr. Tull started his current position of Management, Economic and Consular Officer in August last year.
Mr. Tull heard about the ILC project, which both Iwate and Miyagi prefectures are working to invite, while getting an overview of the situation within the consul’s district. In California, where Mr. Tull is from, there is a physics research facility with a linear accelerator, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, so “I could understand right away what kind facility the ILC was.”
This is the first time Mr. Tull, who was accompanied by an assistant, has come to Iwate. After they visited the Mizusawa VLBI Observatory with prefecture and city ILC officials, the group went to Hada Regional Center and appeared at an opinion exchange session with head of the Hada Regional Development Association Kenju Sato and other members.
Mr. Sato noted that “Our biggest selling point is that we can provide a research environment rich in nature,” but on the other hand, stated that “Unlike city residents, we have little experience interacting with foreign people. My biggest worry is interacting with the researchers and their families and how to be welcoming.”
Mr. Tull expressed his thoughts that “Thinking of communication and diversity is very important. For example, there are few women at this opinion exchange. We need to have the opportunity to hear from all kinds of people.” He also said, “Through interacting with local residents, international residents can learn about living in Japan and the culture. Please teach them about many things in the spirit of `When in Rome, do as the Romans do.`”
Oshu International Relations Association staff member Daigo Fujinami talked about their activities including dispatching volunteer medical interpretation staff. Mr. Tull evaluated this as a meaningful activity, saying “If there were no medical interpreters, international residents would probably have to live tense lives here.”
After the opinion exchange, Mr. Tull answered questions from reporters, saying “We were able to speak freely together about how to welcome the ILC. The ILC is a good chance to bring positive changes to Japan. I’d like to tell what I felt during this visit to my colleagues.”
The ILC Project, which is an international project, especially requires cooperation with the United States and Europe. The US Strategic Plan for U.S. Particle Physics by the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5 for short), which was released the year before last, make clear strong support for the ILC project. The nonpartisan federation of diet members for the ILC is working to build an international cooperative framework through deepening discussions with the US government and federal legislators.