The Japanese ambassador to Spain, Kenji Hiramatsu, visited this Thursday Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and the Canary Islands Observatories, together with Masahiro Aoki, secretary of the Embassy, Yoshihiro Miwa, consul of Japan in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Josep Piqué Camps, president of the Spain Spain Council Foundation.
As reported by the IAC on its website, the Japanese delegation was received by Rafael Rebolo López, director of the IAC, and Jesús Burgos, General Services Administrator of the IAC at La Laguna headquarters. After a brief visit, the delegation moved to Teide Observatory (OT), where they met the telescopes and main experiments in which Japan participates: the Carlos Sánchez telescope, which has the MUSCAT2 instrument developed by the Tokyo University Astrobiology Center in collaboration with the IAC; the GroundBIRD Experiment, a radio telescope for the detection of the Cosmic Microwave Background; and the QUIJOTE Experiment, also dedicated to the study of the Cosmic Microwave Fund and other galactic and extragalactic emission processes.
Subsequently, they moved to Santa Cruz de La Palma and visited the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, in the municipality of Garafía. There they met the GTC (Gran Telescopio Canarias) from the hand of its director, Romano Corradi, and the LST1 (Large Size Telescope), together with Professor Masahiro Teshima, director of this telescope, and several representatives of the University of Tokyo. The LST1 constitutes the first prototype of a large telescope built by the LST consortium, in which Japan participates with Spain and Germany, and belongs to the CTA Network (Cherenkov Telescope Array).
The ambassador’s visit concluded on Friday with a meeting with the president of the Cabildo de La Palma, Mariano Hernández Zapata, and the mayor of Santa Cruz de La Palma, Juan José Cabrera Guelmes. At a press conference, Hernández Zapata stressed that the possible installation of the TMT (Thirty Meter Telescope) It is “a vital and transcendental issue for the island and for the astronomical development of Roque de los Muchachos”.
Next, Kenji Hiramatsu said he was very impressed by the studies and facilities of the Canary Islands Observatories: “I will speak with the Government of Japan and also with the experts to see what kind of collaboration can be done in the future.”
For his part, Josep Piqué celebrated the possible contribution of the Japanese to the TMT project. “We are talking about science, but also about the future. We are talking about substantial advances in what this technological revolution is.” He added: “I think we are facing a magnificent opportunity, of course La Palma deserves it.”