Director's Corner

Promising reports from Japan

| 31 January 2021

The Japan High Energy Physics Committee, representing the Japan Association of High Energy Physicists (JAHEP), recently established the ILC Steering Panel to “lead the high energy physics community in Japan to advance the ILC project towards timely realization”. This month the panel produced a most interesting report with a rather long title: “Recent Progress Towards the Realization of the ILC in Japan: Cooperative Efforts by Academia, Industry, and the Local Region.” This new report summarises an impressive set of recent efforts in Japan to promote the ILC by all of the political, industrial, governmental, and academic sectors.

This report recalls the formation nearly 15 years ago of the Federation of Diet Members for the ILC, consisting of over 100 members of the Japanese Diet from across parties, and of the Liaison Committee for Realizing the ILC, formed in 2018 within the Japanese ruling coalition. These two influential bodies, both chaired by the Honorable Takeo Kawamura, have extolled the ILC as a project that cuts across several Japanese national priorities, from science, technology, and innovation to overcoming population decline and regional revitalisation. Members of the federation have also engaged at the international level through numerous visits to the United States and Europe to discuss the ILC with high-level government officials and members of legislative bodies.

Realisation of the ILC is a national priority for many groups in Japan. Key organisations have formed in support of the ILC. For instance, for years the Advanced Accelerator Association Promoting Science and Technology (AAA), an industry-academia collaboration with over 100 companies and 40 academic institutes, has pushed for the ILC. Recently, three major business organisations in Japan have released a joint statement supporting the realisation of the ILC and its benefits as “Asia’s first large international facility in science and technology.” Grassroots organisations have formed, for example the Committee of 100 for the ILC, organised by well-known business and cultural personalities, and the ILC Supporters, which includes well-known artists and well over three 300,000 other ILC supporters.

Naturally, the region of the prospective site for the ILC strongly supports the collider, and the level of support and activity there is impressive. The Tohoku ILC Promotion Council, consisting of members from industries and business, academia, and local government, coordinates many efforts in the region. Last year, as the ILC International Development Team was established, the Tohoku ILC Project Development Center, headed by former KEK Director-General Atsuto Suzuki, was established to address regional issues from environmental assessment to infrastructure development, and there is now much activity on these subjects. Resolutions urging the realisation of the ILC have passed at many levels of local government in the region, and regional representatives have actively urged the Japanese national government at high levels.

To the community of scientists who are eager to harvest the discovery potential of the ILC, it is gratifying to learn of the strong ILC support in Japan and its hearty growth over the last two or three years. Together with the support given to the ILC by the recent update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics and the ardent encouragement of the U.S. government, we can grow ever more optimistic that Japan and partner nations will decide to proceed with the realisation of the ILC. Meanwhile, we look forward to progress by the JAHEP ILC Steering Panel.

The JAHEP ILC Steering Panel is chaired by Professor Satoru Yamashita of the University of Tokyo. Its mandate and membership can be found here, and its report, “Recent Progress Towards the Realization of the ILC in Japan: Cooperative Efforts by Academia, Industry, and the Local Region,” is worth a read!

About the author: Andy Lankford is Distinguished Professor at University of California, Irvine. His current research is on the ATLAS experiment, where he was Deputy Spokesperson for LHC turn-on and the discovery of the Higgs boson. He chaired the U.S. High Energy Physics Advisory Panel from 2012-2018, when it formed the current strategic plan for U.S. particle physics advocating strong international partnerships and the great potential for the field if each major partner hosts a unique world-class facility at home and partners in high-priority facilities hosted elsewhere. He has advised and assisted the U.S. Department of Energy in its international collaborations. He anticipates that the strong support for the ILC in Japan on the part of the U.S. government will continue in the administration of President Biden.

Andy Lankford

Andy Lankford is Distinguished Professor at University of California, Irvine, and serves as regional representative for the Americas in the ILC International Development Team (IDT).
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