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Rolf Heuer, global ILC cities and the role of Japan

| 1 November 2012

Rolf Heuer giving a talk at the ILC symposium held at University of Tokyo

On 24 October, a symposium to boost activities to invite the ILC to Japan was held at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. This event was entitled “Forum on Advanced Accelerator Science & Industry – Creation of Global Project Cities.” Because this event’s date coincided with the height of the big ILC conference, LCWS12, held at University of Texas, Arlington, US, many Japanese scientists were unable to attend. Nonetheless, it attracted an audience of about 300 people – clearly not too many experts in the field as they were all in Arlington. The talk that received greatest attention was the one delivered by Rolf Heuer, Director-General of CERN.

The forum was jointly hosted by the Japan Policy Council (JPC) and the Advanced Accelerator Association promoting science and Technology (AAA). JPC was founded by business and labour leaders and scholars and aims to create a grand design for Japan and to develop a strategy towards its realisation.

The AAA facilitates industry-government-academia collaboration in Japan, seeking various industrial applications of advanced accelerators and technologies derived from R&D on advanced accelerators and placing the ILC as a model case. The AAA has been organising symposiums to raise awareness of the ILC with respect to its physics case and technological progress. This time, with JPC, they widened the scope to social, political and educational aspects and discussed the significance of inviting ILC to Japan.

The event was opened with the welcome remarks from Takashi Nishioka, chairman of the AAA. Nishioka said in his speech that the ILC will be the project that could enable the creation of a true global city in Japan, and he expects the ILC to provide the spark for innovation.

Following Nishioka, two prominent politicians, Yoshiaki Takaki and Takeo Kawamura, both former Ministers of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT), gave opening speeches.

Takaki said that the ILC is a project that needs the collective wisdom of mankind and a lot of money to realise. He recognised that this kind of forum has profound significance since the ILC definitely needs understanding and support from the public. Kawamura said that ILC will become a core of exchange of the brightest brains, and voiced his support for preparing the national budget and lawmaking needed to realise the ILC in Japan.

The forum included two talks and a panel discussion. The first talk was given by Hiroya Masuda, chair of JPC, entitled Challenges for enabling Japan to become one of the world leaders in science and technology.” Masuda explained the contents of the recommendation recently issued by JPC on inviting ILC to Japan.To write up the recommendation, Masuda visited CERN and met with DG Rolf Heuer, discussing the needs and issues on managing a global city. He introduced some issues pointed out by Heuer, such as the establishment of a global governance system, an appropriate infrastructure including hospitals and schools, and job opportunities for spouses.

The second talk, the highlight of the day, was entitled “Current state of the particle physics studies and Japan’s position in the world.” Heuer introduced the physics being done at the Large Hadron Collider. He explained the degree of the difficulty to find the Higgs particle by liking it to “finding a special snow flake in a snow storm.” This expression was most quoted in Japanese newspapers next day. Heuer said that the discovery of the Higgs-like particle was “only the beginning” and scientists need to find out how it interacts with all the particles with precision. “The world is about to change. This discovery will show the road beyond the Standard Model, and guide the way at the energy frontier for at least 20 years.” Then what’s next? Heuer introduced the potential tools for future study such as LHC upgrades, the Large Hadron Electron Collider (LHeC) and linear colliders. “This will be very interesting times,” he said.

The forum was ended with a panel discussion with specialists from a wide range of fields. In addition to Masuda and Nishioka, Kan Suzuki, visiting professor at Osaka University and University of Tsukuba, Yukako Uchinaga, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Berlitz Corporation, Koichi Morimoto from MEXT, and Atsuto Suzuki, Director-General of KEK, joined the panel. Satoru Yamashita of the University of Tokyo acted as a moderator.

In the panel discussion, Atsuto Suzuki pointed out the weakness of Japanese laboratory’s system that lacks the in-house engineers. Masuda emphasised the importance of preparing the favorable environment for people to live in new global city.

Nishioka said that Japan used to have an advantage in the manufacturing technology as a core of industry. “But now, we need to seek our advantage in more creative area. We can expect the accelerator science to drive new industry model.” Uchinaga, who runs a global leadership training and education company, said that language is not a biggest issue to have global city in Japan. She analyzed that Japanese people, in general, are not very good at taking a global leadership. “ILC will be a big chance for Japanese to diversify themselves, and contribute to the world.”

Kan Suzuki mentioned the recent Nobel Prize awarded to Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka jointly with John Gurdon of Britain for the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells).  His comment that “Japan can now go with double ‘i’s – iPS and ILC,” drew laughter from audience. He also said Japan should seek a way to establish a Japan brand on accelerators, and panelists agreed on it.

Morimoto said “Current situation on global competition to secure talent is pretty tough. Japan should provide attractive infrastructure to invite such talents, and ILC will serve as a test.”

The discussion was closed with a comment from commentators: Heuer, Hideaki Shiroyama, professor at Graduater school of public policy, the University of Tokyo, Sadayuki Tsuchiya, Chief of science and technology policy bereau at MEXT and Ryu Shionoya, Japanese diet member and also former minister of MEXT.

Shiroyama commented that not only from the pure science point of view, the social significance of the ILC also need to be considered. Tsuchiya said that science and technology is like a lifeline for Japan, and “ILC will be the true international contribution to challenge panhuman issues.”

Shionoya concluded the discussion saying, “Promoting science and technology is the highest priority issue of Japan. ILC has now reached a point where we need to drive forward with more concrete vision. We will do our best to promote the project further.”

The video of the forum is available on JPC’s website.

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