The national government given leeway now that the deadline has been pushed to next year – will this urge them to make a decision?

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

The deadline for the Japanese national government to voice their intentions on hosting the ILC has been pushed three months later (originally, it was by the end of 2018). On December 7th, the head of the international research organization overseeing the ILC spoke about their intentions to Diet members who support the ILC project. As it looks like deliberations will still be ongoing as the year ends, the international scientists will push back the deadline a bit in hopes of pushing the government to move on the ILC. If there is no progress, they warned that “the project will be over.” We are now facing the final stage before a decision on whether or not to host the ILC.

Prof. Hitoshi Murayama, vice-chair of the Linear Collider Collaboration (the international organization pushing forth the ILC), spoke in front of the non-partisan Federation of Diet Members for the ILC. “This train has a time schedule, and it is past its departure time. We are waiting for the Japanese government to get on the train.”

The Linear Collider Board, a suborganization of the International Committee for Future Accelerators, held a phone conference on the previous day, December 6th. They debated on pushing the deadline to the last moment possible, but took the position that, “it would be difficult to get an announcement from Japan within the year.” As they will be holding a meeting in Tokyo on March 7, 2019, they ended up moving the deadline to that date.

The Diet members and scientists went over their planned time by around an hour to continue their dialogue. Hon. Shunichi Suzuki of the Liberal Democratic Party (House of Representatives, Iwate 2nd district) asked about the situation with China’s plan to build a circular collider. Prof. Murayama said, “Their design isn’t nearly as matured as the ILC, but if it seems like things aren’t going well for the ILC in Japan, there will be more and more Western scientists that head to China.”

The Science Council of Japan’s ILC Committee released a draft of their answer (of their deliberations on the ILC) in November. Within, they questioned how such immense costs could be shared internationally, stating “there is no clear outlook” on the matter. Hon. Hiroyuki Hosoda, chief of the non-partisan Science and Technology Group within the Diet, said he would make used of this extension to strengthen calls on the government to host the ILC. “We must accelerate the creation of concrete plans for dealing with the long-term (cost) burden on the government and securing investment from related organizations.”

Head of the LCC, Lyn Evans, has long called for the Japanese government to make their intentions clear on the ILC. “The international scientific community is frustrated.” It remains to be seen how the Japanese government will respond to this final message.