On 15 December, the International Linear Collider clearly became a hot topic in Japanese newspapers: Yoshihiko Noda, the Prime Minister of Japan, gave a speech at the ILC symposium held in Tokyo. This symposium was jointly hosted by the Advanced Accelerator Association promoting science and technology (AAA) and the Federation of Diet members to promote the International Linear Collider project. AAA has held the series of symposia since 2008, and this was the first time that the Prime Minister attended.
Prime Minister Noda played a key role when this Federation of Diet members became an all-party group three years ago; he acted as co-secretary general at the time. In the symposium last week, he stressed the importance of accelerator science, saying, “the accelerator brought Japan the Nobel prize in physics in 2008, and provided confidence and hope to Japanese citizens. Accelerators are also vital tools for our society. I have heard of the wide range of examples for the utilisation of accelerators in various fields such as medical treatment or material development. I believe that those applications will lead to industrial developments and thus prosperity of citizens’ lives.”
Noda regards the importance of the ILC as a project that requires the concentrated efforts of the world’s research and wisdom, but he also views it as a huge and expensive project. “We will need to consider the international framework towards the realisation of the ILC. To move forward, gaining the understanding and support from the public is crucial. I expect the community to provide easy-to-understand explanations on the significance, value and potential of the ILC project,” said Noda, stressing the importance of communication activities.
Following the Prime Minister’s speech, Takeo Kawamura, the former chief cabinet secretary and the deputy president of the Federation, gave an address on behalf of Yukio Hatoyama, former Prime Minister and the president of the Federation. Kawamura said, “the ILC is the project that Japan should promote as a national commitment.”
Three other speakers also gave talks at the symposium. The first speaker was Kaoru Yosano, former minister in charge of finance and economy, and the supreme advisor of the federation. In his talk, entitled “The national strategy and the ILC,” he showed his will to host the ILC in Japan. “I would like to build the world science centre in Japan. Science research is not only about technology and science, but also contributes to the culture and mentality of the citizens.”
Masahiko Yamawaki, operation officer of the Mitsubishi Electric Co. Ltd., and Atsuto Suzuki, director general of KEK, also gave talks representing industry and academia, both explaining the significance of the ILC project from their own points of view.
The room was packed with some 150 attendees from government, industry, and academia: Akihiro Ohata, former minister of land, infrastructure and transportation; Yoshiaki Takagi, former minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology; Tetsuo Saito, former minister for environment; Ryu Shionoya, former minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology; and members of the House of Representatives, Yoshihisa Tamura and Keisuke Tsumura.
Takashi Nishioka, the chair of AAA said “Japan is now facing an unprecedented difficulty. AAA is thinking about what we can do to contribute to the recovery from the disaster,” with the hope that the ILC can be one of those recovery options.