December 7th – The Science Council of Japan (SCJ) begins reviewing the draft from the ILC Committee
December 19th – SCJ Board of Directors meeting
January 31st – SCJ Board of Directors meeting
February 28th – SCJ Board of Directors meeting
(Sometime within January-February, the national government will make its intentions clear?)
March 7th – Meeting held in Tokyo by International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) and the Linear Collider Board (LCB) (→this is the final deadline)
The Federation of Diet Members for the ILC (FDMILC; chair: Hon. Takeo Kawamura of the House of Representatives, 130 members) held their general assembly within the Diet on December 7th. The international organization of scientists had called on the government to make their intentions clear by the end of 2018, but announced at this meeting that they would extend their final deadline to March 7th, 2019.
This was also a joint meeting with the Liberal Democratic Party’s ILC Liaison Council, and 25 Diet members were in attendance. Lyn Evans (director of the Linear Collider Collaboration (LCC) leading the ILC project) and Hitoshi Murayama (deputy director of the LCC and professor at USC Berkeley) were also in attendance.
Evans said, “Deliberations will continue at the Science Council of Japan, which means that it will be difficult for the Japanese government to make their intentions clear within the year like we had hoped.” The International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA; made up of leaders of the world’s major accelerator labs) and its suborganization, the Linear Collider Board (LCB) will meet in Tokyo on March 7th, so Evans stressed that, “it is exceedingly important that the Japanese government state that it will start international negotiations by that time.”
Europe will begin deliberations on its next particle physics plan in 2019, so Murayama said, “This is the absolute latest we can go. If the European scientists don’t see that the ILC is moving forward, they may move on to another project.” Hon. Kawamura said, “We will call upon the national government strongly until March 7th, and fight for this until the bitter end.”
On the same day that the national government got 3 additional months to make its decision, experts began reviewing the draft put forth by the ILC Committee within the SCJ. After they are done, the SCJ will pass it on to the Ministry of Science (MEXT) after consulting the SCJ Board of Directors. The next meetings of the Board of Directors will be December 19th, January 31st, and February 28th. According to the SCJ office, the procedures for getting an announcment would generally take around one month.
The ILC is an international project to build a linear collider (initial length: 20km) in an underground tunnel in order to unlock the mysteries of the universe’s origins. The world’s leading candidate site is the Kitakami mountains in Iwate Prefecture.