Various Thoughts on MEXT ILC Panel of Experts Suggestions

The original article was published in the Tanko Nichinichi. Read the original here.

Related parties are regarding the suggestions given by the ILC panel of experts to MEXT on June 25th in various ways. While there is the forward-thinking interpretation that “a concrete target has been indicated for the first time,” others worry that if examination work proceeds according to the recommendations, the process would take one to two years longer than the researchers’ imagined scenario, casting doubt on the possibility of the ILC becoming a reality or spurring on plans for constructing other experimental facilities. There is also the hope that “Japan taking action by thoroughly having sufficient discussion” will be relayed, since the nonpartisan federation of diet members for the ILC is working to coordinate politically with the US and Europe.

The panel of experts gave three recommendations: 1) To get the prospects for cost sharing among countries and for getting scientific results worth the massive investment 2) That the performance and obtainable results from the ILC be assessed by sufficiently analyzing and evaluating experimental trends of the LHC, and that solutions for technical issues and for reducing cost risks be made clear, and 3) To work for the understanding and consensus of the Japanese people and of other scientific fields.

The international shouldering of costs has been one of the factors seen as important until now. The president of Iwate Prefectural University, Atsuto Suzuki, who has been involved with the ILC project for a long time, had a high opinion of the recommendation, saying that “it means to move to negotiations between countries on a working level.”

The second recommendation is that the performance of the ILC and other factors be assessed by analyzing and assessing the experiment results of CERN`s LHC (Large Hadron Collider), which will run [this time] until the end of 2017.

However, if the ILC were to be assessed after the LHC run ends, the schedule made by the researchers furthering the ILC plan would be extended by one to two years. Originally the scenario was that the Japanese government would give out a OK in spring of 2016, and construction would begin in 2018.

Professor Hitoshi Yamamoto of Tohoku University said, “If the government hears these recommendations, makes moves and can show that [it is moving], that will build international momentum, but if there is no movement until the end of 2017 that would be a problem.” He expressed concern that “If the sense that “there is still no OK” is conveyed to the other countries, there could be doubt cast on the possibility of the ILC being realized.” Yamamoto asserted that “the LHC is already getting new data, and in about a year one could tell the general situation. It’s be possible to make a decision around then.”

Professor Yamamoto explained that “China is planning to independently construct a large circular collider. It’s trying to perform experiments that CERN is planning to do ahead of time.” “If the ILC becomes a reality, the momentum of the Chinese plan may wane, but if the ILC doesn`t become a reality it would spur China on. If that happens, China would be the hub of Asia, or more like world particle physics for decades to come,” he predicted.

Director of the Iwate Science and ILC Promotion Division, Jun Sasaki, said that “There are differences between the ways of thinking for when Japan and European and American countries proceed with a project and come to make a decision. If things go according to the recommendations, it is true that it will take time but if we show that `Japan is steadily making progress` other countries should understand.”

Director Sasaki said that “the federation of diet members for the ILC has a big role” in showing Japan`s actions to the world. There has already been progress toward forming a Japan-US joint caucus, and the same thing is expected to happen in Europe.

Director Sasaki said that “While the government is working toward a final decision, local areas need to move forward with proposals for community development to receive the ILC. We have to not just sit and watch what Japan or the world does, but take action ourselves.”