Discussions at the political level over the ILC in US and Europe

| 11 June 2015

Right after the Asian Linear Collider Workshop (ALCW) 2015 and ILC Tokyo Event, another big milestone for the ILC happened in the United States. From 26 to 30 April, three members of the Diet  and members of Japan’s Federation of Diet Members for Promotion of the ILC, Takeo Kawamura, Ryu Shionoya and Shun-ichi Suzuki visited Washington D.C., to meet with their American counterparts to discuss the ILC.

Round table discussion at Hudson Institute. Mr. Kawamura from Japan’s Federation of Diet members giving a talk

On 26 May, the general meeting of the Federation was held in Tokyo, and the result of the Washington visit was reported. “I was really impressed by the positive atmosphere surrounding the ILC in the US,” said Kawamura, Chair of the Federation, in the general meeting. This is the third consecutive year for them to visit Washington for this purpose. He analysed that this change of mood in the US has been influenced by the positive statement included in the P5 report issued May last year. “I am keenly aware of the expectation the other regions have towards Japan, and we should keep advancing our effort,” said Shionoya, Secretary-General of the Federation.

Diet members were accompanied by Japanese scientists and members of  the Advanced Accelerator Association promoting science and technology (AAA), Japan’s industry-academia-government collaboration based on advanced accelerator technology. The delegation held a roundtable discussion at Hudson Institute, a US-based independent research organisation which helps manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary studies in various fields.

Participants included US Congress members and Japanese Diet members. US representative Randy Hultgren gave an speech at the round table. From the US side, Jim Siegrist, Associate Director of Office of High Energy Physics in the US Department of Energy (DOE), Kenneth R. Weinstein (CEO) and William Schneider, Jr. (former undersecretary from the US Department of State) from the Hudson Institute, and officials from Congress participated in the discussion.  Other participants were Lyn Evans, Director, Hitoshi Murayama, Deputy Director, Harry Weerts, the Americas Regional Director from the Linear Collider Collaboration and Andy Lankford, the Chair of US High Energy Physics Advisory Panel,  as well as from Japan Atsuto Suzuki, former Director General of KEK, Jun-ichi Nishiyama, Advisor of AAA, and Satoru Yamashita from the University of Tokyo. About 10 further respersentatives from research institutes and industries participated in the discussion.

At the meeting, participants concurred on the imminent need for the discussions at the government and legislature levels in order to further strengthen the US-Japan relation in science and technology. As a result, the roundtable participates agreed to aim for the creation of a US-Japan caucus for science and technology to enhance the US-Japan cooperation, with a focus on large-scale international projects based on advanced technologies, critical technologies with large impact on our economical and social life, frontier science research as well as national security. Specific topics of discussion will include: nuclear and fusion energy, space exploitation such as the International Space Station (ISS), next-generation high-speed computing, and advanced accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, and the International Linear Collider (ILC). They are aiming to form this alliance in early autumn of this year.

Shun-ichi Suzuki, Deputy Chair of the Federation, said, “Future activities in the domain of advanced science won’t be possible to be pursued as a national project of a single country, both technically and financially. Those projects should be driven forward by international collaboration. The to-be-established caucus will be a good foothold for the realisation of the project.”

They also met individually with representatives from US authorities: Rush Holt, former Congressman and CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), William Colglazier, former Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State, Congresspeople Billy Long and Eddie Barnice Johnson, and John Rivard, Legislative Fellow at Office of Lamar Alexander, explaining the status of the ILC project and discussing the importance of strengthening the US-Japan cooperation in science and technology.

Their visit coincided with the one of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who gave a speech to the joint session of the Congress on 29 April. Diet members Shionoya and Suzuki were invited to the dinner hosted by the prime minister, where they discussed the ILC with US officials including Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, and Diana DeGette, co-chair of the Congressional Study Group on Japan.

Kawamura said, “the interest of the US in the ILC is  growing. We would like to make more effort to realize the project, and wish to provide clear answers in a timely manner.”

Another delegation of Japanese politicians consisting of six members of the Japan-EU Parliamentary Friendship Association headed to Strasbourg, France at almost the same time, for the 35th Japan-EC Parliamentary Conference.

The European Parliament has subsidiary groups called Delegations, which maintain relations and exchange information with parliaments in non-EU countries. The European Parliament Delegation for relations with Japan is one of the longest established in the Parliament, created in 1979. Since that date has held annual conference with counterparts from the Japanese Diet.

Kenji Kosaka, Chairman of the Friendship Association said “This was the good opportunity to reach out to the European Parliament”. In the first session of the Conference chaired by Kosaka, the ILC was included as a topic of discussion. Takeshi Shina, who is also a member of Federation of Diet member for ILC, presented an introduction of the ILC. “Total of about 40 Parliament members joined the session, and I strongly felt introduction of ILC made the Europe’s increased awareness to the project. European countries’ participation in the project is indispensable for the realisation of the ILC. I think we have accomplished certain results by this visit.” Kosaka summarised.

Kosaka with other Diet members also paid a courtesy call to Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, to discuss about Economic Partnership Agreement, and handed ILC-related documents to her.

In Japan, government-level discussions are ongoing at the expert panel established under Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) . They are planning to issue an interim report on the result of their discussions and findings and discussion this summer. “Based on the report, we will discuss what Japan will do. The federation will encourage closer cooperation with US Europe and Asia, toward the realisation of the ILC,” said Shionoya.

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