Reactions in Iwate to the government’s position on the ILC – happiness and confusion

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (March 8th edition). Read the original here.

On March 7th, the national government stated its position on the ILC would be to continue deliberations, and there were many different reactions to that within Oshu, Ichinoseki, and other parts of Iwate. Some were happy that the national government had for the first time showed an interest in the ILC and recognized that it had scientific value and would benefit the region; others were worried that deliberations might continue with no end in sight, and called for the government to make a decision as quickly as possible.

Oshu set up a live viewing at the city hall of the broadcast of the press briefing given by the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA). Around 60 Oshu residents gathered to watch Geoffrey Taylor, chair of ICFA, state, “It was disappointing that the Japanese government did not give a clear statement on hosting the ILC, but we felt they were showing a positive stance towards the project. We will continue waiting for a decision.”

Some could take the government’s statement as quite ambiguous, and Juichi Takahashi (Vice-chair of the Oshu City Tourism Association) said, “It’s quite difficult to figure out how to parse the press briefing.”

It has been five and a half years since August 2013, when the Kitakami site in Iwate was deemed the most appropriate site for the ILC. Hikari Takahashi, a worker for an organization in Tsunagi, Morioka City, said, “I had hoped they would make a decision sooner rather than later.” Company worker Nana Karasawa of Ohara, Ichinoseki said, “The ILC is an investment in our future that will lead to new hopes and dreams for our children.”

Hironobu Asari is a student at Iwate Medical University who has collected 5,664 signatures for the ILC in the 2 years since graduating from Ichinoseki #1 High School. He said, “I am grateful that the national government will continue talks. I hope that this moves in a good direction.”

MEXT has also stated that it will take into account the benefit the ILC will bring to the area surrounding the Kitakami site. Shinya Kikuchi, president of Sun-Ai, a business in Esashi, Oshu that does accelerator development work, said, “I hope the national government will hear from scientists around the world, and realize the global importance of the ILC. I won’t give up hope; everyone in Iwate should work together to bring the ILC to the area.”