On Thursday, 15 December, a symposium was held in Tokyo. This is only one event of a frequently held symposium series, but this time it drew much attention from Japanese media because Mr. Yoshihiko Noda, the Prime Minister of Japan, gave a speech there.
This symposium was hosted by the Advanced Accelerator Association promoting science and technology (AAA) jointly with the Federation of Diet Members to promote the International Linear Collider project．
In addition to Mr. Noda, bureaucrats, eminent guests from politics, and members of industry attended the symposium, including six former ministers.
The Japanese linear collider team has been making prolonged, patient efforts to involve lawmakers, local governments, industry and researchers for over 20 years. As a result the government approved a few-million-dollar budget last month to carry forward extended surveys in the two Japanese candidate sites. This symposium is one fruit of those efforts. Now, we have finally gotten to the point where the government is starting to consider the ILC as a possible future project in the context of national policy.
In his speech, Prime Minister Noda, referring to the CERN press release issued on Tuesday, said that he admired the efforts made by the LHC research group that is advancing the search for the Higgs particle and expected the more refined results to be presented. He also stated that the accelerator is a “vital tool” for our society’s prosperity and enriches citizens’ lives, a tool that is being utilised in various fields such as medicine or new material development.
Still, he sees the cost of the ILC as a concern, saying, “It is a huge project, and has considerable cost. It needs to consider the international framework to address the realisation of the ILC”. He gave us a big homework assignment to “solve the issues one by one with discussions between world scientists.” He also requested that we further strive to gain understanding and support from the public.
I am very happy to hear all the encouraging words from the guest speakers to the ILC project, and would like to thank them for all the support given to us to be able to reach this point. But at the same time, I feel the urge to tighten up our activities. We still have so many things to do before the government really gives us a go: finishing the remaining R&D, furthering the geological survey and reaching an academic consensus, to name a few.
We are just standing at the entrance, and our world efforts need to continue or become even stronger.