The FDMILC to visit US on April 30 – Exchanging opinions with Congress and the US government

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (April 29th edition). Read the original here.

The non-partisan Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (FDMILC, Chair: Takeo Kawamura) will visit the United States on April 30 to exchange opinions with US Congress members and government officials. They will try to see how the science policies may change with the Trump Administration, as well as deepen the relationship between the US and Japan in hopes of realizing the ILC.

Around 10 members will attend the visit, including Chair Kawamura (House of Representatives, Yamaguchi 3rd District) and Vice-Chair Shunichi Suzuki (House of Representatives, Iwate 2nd District) of the Liberal Democratic Party, Managing Director Keisuke Tsumura of the Democratic Progressive Party (proportional representative of the Chugoku region), and specially-appointed professor Satoru Yamashita of the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics for the University of Tokyo.

The delegation will leave Japan on April 30. They will visit the US Department of Energy and meet individually with US Congress members during their stay. At the US-Japan Science and Technology Forum (preliminary name), they will exchange opinions on the ILC with US Congress members and scientists, and will return to Japan on May 4.

According to the FDMILC, the Trump Administration plans to reduce the budget of the Department of Energy, but the budget’s contents strongly reflect the opinions of Congress. The understanding of Congress of the ILC is crucial for its realization. With this visit, the delegation will see if there are any effects on the ILC project thanks to the change in government leadership, and will work towards strengthening the relationship between US and Japan.

Regarding the ILC, the Japanese national government is considering whether to host the project through a Panel of Experts, and will make their decision sometime this year or next year. International sharing of the over 1 trillion yen in costs is a huge challenge. The International Committee of Future Accelerators (ICFA) is currently debating cost reduction through shortening the length of the ILC in the beginning stages.

Vice-chair Suzuki said, “This will be an important year. As the US administration has changed leadership, we will make sure that the US-Japan relationship, so critical to international cooperation, never wavers. We will make it stronger.”