On 10 July, governors, industrial leaders, and local officials of Japan’s northeastern area got together to attend a general meeting of the Tohoku Advanced Science and Technology Study Group. In the northeastern part of Japan, or Tohoku, activities towards inviting the ILC to the area has been intensified ever since the ILC was positioned as one of the promising means to recover from the disastrous earthquake occurred last year.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of a report entitled “The future vision of Tohoku with the International Linear Collider as a core facility.” This report was written up by a working group composed of specialists from a wide range of communities: scientists, local officials, industrial members, and journalists from local medias with the help of a consulting firm.
After the meeting, Michio Kitamura, senior consultant at the Nomura Research Institute (NRI) gave a presentation to explain the contents of the report. Kitamura estimated the expected direct economic ripple effect would be 4.3 trillion yen, or 0.54 trillion US dollars for the 30-year-period of construction and operation of the accelerator facility. Based on their calculation, the ILC project would create 250 thousand jobs in the area. “The number has decreased from the estimate we made before,” said Kitamura. NRI had made an estimate on the ILC’s economic effect last November, based on the whole construction cost of 0.87 trillion yen, stated in the ILC’s Reference Design Report issued in 2007. “This time we made detailed estimate with the 0.48 trillion yen, the likely cost that Japan would bear.” Kitamura said that the ILC’s economic effect through technology innovation will “go far beyond the amount of direct ripple effect. I wanted to present the number in this report, but to calculate a reliable number, we will need more time.”
The report also presented the design of the new science city. The report estimated the size of the main campus as 100 hectares, where the major buildings such as laboratories, experimental facilities or a conference centre will be built. It estimated that 3000 housings will be needed for ILC-related newcomers. “We assume that foreign researchers and their families will be the main occupants of those housings. We estimate the population of the city up to 14 thousand when the ILC is under regular operation.”
The report that is over 30 pages long mentions the wide variety of the city functions that will enable the foreign researchers and their families to live in Tohoku as a present experience, such as legal and accounting services, medical facilities, or shopping malls and leisure venues.
Takuya Tasso, the governor of the Iwate prefecture, said that “writing up a report of this sort by the effort of Tohoku local community at this moment is pretty significant, since the Japanese government has not positioned the ILC as a national project yet. I will utilise this report for the dialogue with the government officials.” Yoshihiro Murai, the governor of the Miyagi prefecture that was most severely affected by last year’s earthquake, said, “the ILC is necessary for Tohoku. I will do my best to support the activities to invite the ILC here.”
“From today, this study group will grow into a more solid organisation to work towards the realisation of the ILC in Tohoku,” said Susumu Satomi, the president of Tohoku University and the chair of the study group. The study group was established four years ago, and the activities of the group were focused on the investigation on the possible construction site and development of an environment conducive to activities towards ILC promotion. The Global Design Effort will issue the Technical Design Report at the end of this year. And the wonderful news of the discovery of the Higgs-like particle has just come from CERN. “The ILC is a project which could shape the future of human beings and revolutionise our knowledge of our universe. I truly hope to build it here.” Satomi continues to represent the new organisation that will lead the activity to invite the ILC to Tohoku.