Japan's Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (Monbusho), has announced, subject to approval by the Diet, a further contribution of 5 billion Yen (approximately 56 million Swiss francs) for the construction of the LHC. This generous gesture reinforces the excellent relations that have been established between CERN1 and Japan. In May 1995 Japan made a first contribution of 5 billion Yen to the LHC project and was granted Observer status at CERN in June 1995. In December 1996 the Japanese Delegation at CERN's Council meeting announced that the Japanese cabinet had approved a further contribution to the LHC project of 3.85 billion Yen. The total contribution from Japan now comes to 13.85 billion Yen (approximately 159 million Swiss Francs).
CERN Director-General Prof. Chris Llewellyn Smith thanked the Japanese government for its generosity and support saying: "This contribution is splendid proof of Japan's strong commitment to CERN and to the LHC project, and will greatly help to ensure the speedy and timely completion of that project."
163 Japanese scientists are currently making important contributions to CERN projects, ranging from low energy experiments with anti-protons, through neutrino experiments and involvement in the OPAL experiment at CERN's flagship collider LEP, to the LHC. Complex superconducting quadrupole magnets for the LHC accelerator are being developed in close collaboration with KEK, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba. Japanese experimental physicists are playing an important role in the development and construction of the ATLAS experiment which will begin analysing the high energy collisions created by LHC in 2005.
The LHC, a particle accelerator built from high-powered superconducting magnets each 15 metres long, will be installed in CERN's existing 27-kilometre circular tunnel constructed for the LEP electron-positron collider. These powerful magnets will hold counter-rotating beams of protons on a steady course around the ring as superconducting accelerating cavities 'kick' them almost to the speed of light at energies higher than have ever been reached in accelerators. When these proton beams collide, at fixed crossing points, their combined energy of motion will create hundreds of new particles. Study of these collisions will probe the interactions between the tiny quark constituents hidden deep inside the colliding protons and reveal how Nature works at the most fundamental levels.
To build instruments capable of creating such extreme conditions and then to analyse the results with extraordinary precision is a daunting challenge which demands advances in many highly complex technologies. The success of the LHC is directly linked to the ability of scientists, in close collaboration with industry, to push the limits of technology beyond today's frontiers. The construction of LHC will break new ground in superconductivity, high-speed electronics, cryogenics, super-computing, vacuum technology, material science and many other disciplines. These new technologies, developed for LHC, will become fertile ground in which seeds for new hi-tech industries can flourish. Japan's involvement in this technological challenge will certainly be beneficial to CERN and to Japan.