Successful visit to Europe: one big step for ILC realisation

| 1 February 2018

“In short, it was a big success,” said Satoru Yamashita, project professor at the University of Tokyo, who was a member of a Japanese delegation that visited France and Germany in early January this year.

The Japanese delegation consisted of 18 persons – Diet members, government officials, industry leaders, and scientists – and toured two European countries in their four-day visit seeking to strengthen relationships towards ILC realisation.

“Europe is the most important partner alongside the U.S., having the biggest number of scientists and engineers working on the ILC-related effort,” said Yamashita. “So, this visit was a really important one which may decide ILC’s destiny”.

One of the biggest achievements of the visit was that they had defined the specific counterparts for the discussion.


Japanese delegation(from left): Mr. Hiroaki Takahashi, Honorary Chair of Tohoku Economic Federation, former President of Tohoku Electric Power company, Mr. Takashi Nishioka, Chair., AAA, former President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mr. Kenichi Kawamura, Diet Office policy staff for Hon. Kawamura, Hon. Shintaro Ito, Hon. Ryu Shionoya, Hon. Taku Otsuka, Mr. Yasuhiro Itakura, Deputy Director-General, Research Promotion Bureau of MEXT, Prof. Atsuto Suzuki, President of Iwate Prefecture Univ. / Director General of Tohoku ILC Planning office, former Director General of KEK

Between the U.S. and Japan, a discussion group for the ILC was established in May 2016, for which high officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) co-chaired to discuss cooperation in the ILC effort, and started cost reduction R&D. However, the U.S.’s co-chair post has been vacant because of the delay in federal appointments.

The lesson was learned, and this time, the group tried to have multi-layered discussion counterparts. In this visit, practical partners was identified or assigned on each level from political, bureaucratic, institutional to scientific for discussions on ILC between Japan and France and between Japan and Germany.

“I’m very pleased to learn about the positive atmosphere  of these discussions,” said Joachim Mnich, former Chair of the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), and Director in charge of Particle and Astroparticle Physics at DESY, Germany, who attended the meetings in Germany .

The delegation came well prepared. Prior to the delegation visit, European scientists worked hard to make all kinds of arrangements for fruitful discussions.


(From left) Mr Alain Tourret and Mr Olivier Becht – members of the French Parliament – president and vice-president of the France-Japan friendship committee

The groundwork was made at a previous meeting at the Linear Collider Workshop held in Strasbourg last fall. There was an “outlook session” with attendance of Mr. Olivier Becht, a member of French Parliament (National Assembly) and President of the European Center for Japanese Studies in Alsace (CEEJA), Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, a member of German Parliament (Bundestag), where attendees confirmed how the ILC would be a large step forward for particle physics.

This time, more ILC concepts such as the importance and inevitability of the international sharing of the investment and expertise as well as the technologies to realise the ILC, were confirmed. There was dialogue on the scale of the investment in total worldwide at the construction, a proposed time scale, a model for international sharing, and involvement of industry in each country through an in-kind scheme. The essential view points of Germany and France were clarified and confirmed with the delegation, especially the importance of the co-prosperity between the future of CERN and the ILC project.


(from left to right) Dr.Mikael Gast (BMBF), Dr.Andrea Fischer (BMBF), Dr.Stefan Kaufmann (MdB = member of parliament),Dr.Georg Schütte (BMBF), Dr. Lothar Mennicken (BMBF)

(from left to right) Dr.Mikael Gast (BMBF), Dr.Andrea Fischer (BMBF), Dr.Stefan Kaufmann (member of parliament), Dr.Georg Schütte (BMBF), Dr. Lothar Mennicken (BMBF)

They also identified political processes in Europe, and reaffirmed the importance to include the ILC into the next European strategy for particle physics which is expected in 2020. The first “European Strategy for Particle Physics” was adopted in July 2006, its update in May 2013. In the 2013 update, it stated “The initiative from the Japanese particle physics community to host the ILC in Japan is most welcome, and European groups are eager to participate. Europe looks forward to a proposal from Japan to discuss a possible participation.

“This visit was a first response toward the realisation of a ‘proposal from Japan‘ in this statement and I believe that it was positively received,” Yamashita said. “I really want to thank Mr. Becht, and Dr. Kaufmann, for the success of this visit. And this would not have been realised without preparation efforts by Marc Winter (CNRS) and Maxim Titov (CEA),” said Yamashita.

“Building up on the successful experience from the 2016 IEEE NSS/MIC Symposium and the 2017 LCWS in Strasbourg, this visit had many forward-looking discussions, encouraging for the ILC realisation in a timely manner. Being jointly organised by the French and German communities, it underlined at the political level the importance of very large-scale science and technology projects in the high-energy accelerator field, such as LHC and ILC,”said Titov.

“They require world-wide expertise provided through enhanced international and technological and industrial partnership. Both French and German Parliament members will continue supporting the project development,” said Winter.

The Japanese delegation strongly hopes to maintain and accelerate this trend, and is planning to visit Spain, Italy and UK this spring.

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  • Akira Yamamoto says:

    I have been very much impressed with the great success achieved by the the executive Japanese Delegation to Europe and the European partners in France and Germany, based on much efforts to have been very well prepared. Many thanks for Prof. Yamashita, Dr. TItov, and Prof. Winter for their outstanding and very cautious preparation and realization this big progress.