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2008年12月11日 (木)

記者の目:今なお放置される精神病んだ被爆者=牧野宏美(大阪社会部)

(Mainichi Japan) December 10, 2008
Troubled minds of A-bomb victims left in limbo

記者の目:今なお放置される精神病んだ被爆者=牧野宏美(大阪社会部)


 ◇「私も原爆で死んでいれば」--63年続く、暗く重いうめき

Dec. 8 marked the 67th anniversary of the outbreak of the Pacific War, but many people still suffer from the psychological trauma brought on by that conflict. In October, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare revealed that 77 veterans suffered from war-related psychiatric disorders in fiscal 2007, and that 42 of them were hospitalized. This, however, represents only a portion of those who have been traumatized by war.

 太平洋戦争開戦から8日で67年が経過したが、いまだに戦争による心の傷に苦しみ続ける人たちがいる。厚生労働省は10月、旧軍人・軍属で、戦地での体験などから精神障害を患い、現在も治療中の人が07年度末現在で全国に77人(うち入院者は42人)いると明らかにした。しかし、この数は戦争で精神を患った人の一部を示すに過ぎない。

I have visited and spoken with A-bomb victims who have been in mental hospitals for many years, and I heard tales of unending agony. A thorough investigation of the relationship between wars and mental disorders is indispensable if we are to understand the reality of war. Meanwhile, however, the actual victims are passing away in a state of neglect, and the problem of their existence is being relegated to the shadows of history.

精神科病院に長期入院する原爆の被爆者らを取材し、今なおやむことのないうめきを聞いた。戦争の実相を知るため、戦争と精神障害の関係は十分に研究されるべきだが、患者らは放置されたまま次々と亡くなっており、問題は歴史の闇にうずもれようとしている。

A hospital in Hiroshima Prefecture permitted me to visit its psychiatric ward, which I found to be eerily silent on my first visit. There were no other visitors. "Many patients here are not visited by their families at all. They've been abandoned," said the hospital director with a sigh.

 広島県内の病院の協力で、初めて足を踏み入れた精神科病棟は静まり返っていた。見舞客の姿はない。「家族が会いに来るのを見たことがない患者さんが、大勢います。見捨てられているんですよ」。院長がため息交じりにつぶやいた。

I interviewed an 86-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia 18 years after the A-bomb. She has been hospitalized for 45 years. Medically speaking, there is no clear link between the bombing and her mental disorder. The woman's 79-year-old sister-in-law says, however, that her husband (the woman's brother, who passed away in March) often declared that his sister's illness had to do with the shock of witnessing the horrors of the bomb.

 被爆から18年後に統合失調症と診断され、45年間入院している女性(86)に会った。被爆と精神障害の関係は医学的には未解明だ。だが、女性の兄嫁(79)を訪ねると、今年3月に亡くなった夫=女性の兄=は、「惨状を見たショックが関係しているはずだ」と常々語っていたという。

I asked the woman to tell me what she had seen, but halfway through, she lapsed into silence with bowed head. This happened when she was telling me how she walked home from where she was when the bomb fell. I visited her again on another day, but she fell silent again at the same part of her story. I visited former colleagues of hers and various relatives, but never found out what happened.

 女性に被爆体験を聞いていると、途中で黙り込み、うなだれた。被爆場所から、自宅へ歩いて帰る様子を話しかけた時だった。日を改めて再訪しても、同じところでつまずいた。何があったのか。女性の元同僚や親族を訪ね歩いたが、分からずじまいだった。

My interviews concluded, the day came for me to return to Osaka. "Please let me go home," the women begged me, bowing repeatedly. I could only stand there in silence.

 取材を終え、大阪へ戻ろうとする際のことだ。「家に帰らせてください」と、女性が私に何度も頭を下げて頼む。私はその場に立ちつくすしかなかった。

Three years ago, when I was working at our Hiroshima bureau and covering atomic bomb-related news, I encountered a man who had obviously become mentally distressed because of something that happened just before the death of his younger sister. He found his little sister barely alive, immediately after the bombing. The whole town was in ruins and there was no way to save her. The man insisted that he only wanted to relieve her suffering.

 広島支局で原爆の取材をしていた3年前、妹の死の間際の出来事に苦しみ続け、精神状態に変調を来しているとしか思えない男性と出会った。被爆直後、かすかに息のある幼い妹を見つけた。壊滅した街で救う手だてはない。せめて苦しみを除きたかったという。

"I poured some broth from a can into her mouth to help her die and she choked to death," he declared. But he immediately contradicted himself to say, "She would have died in any case." I talked to him for nearly six hours, but he kept repeating the same story over and over, with unfocused eyes. I visited him again the next day, and it was the same thing, over and over. He had lost himself at the threshold of truth and untruth.

 「介錯(かいしゃく)のつもりで缶詰の汁を口に流し込み、窒息死させた」と、男性は証言した。ところが、すぐに「何もしなくても息絶えていたはずだ」と前言を翻した。6時間近く話したが、うつろな表情で堂々巡りをするばかりだ。翌日に出直したが、また堂々巡りを繰り返した。男性は虚実の入り乱れる世界を漂っていた。

"I wish I had died in the bombing, too," he finally moaned in a choked voice. I will never forget the dark weight of that desperate cry.

 「私も原爆で死んでいればよかった」。男性は最後にうめくように声を絞り出した。その暗く重い声を、私は一生忘れないだろう。

The Special Support Law for War Invalids certifies war veterans who have been disabled to a certain degree or who are in need of medical treatment, and qualifies them for medical benefits. The government is therefore aware of the number of psychologically disabled veterans among the 983 who received medical benefits in fiscal 2007. However, with regard to the 229,682 people who received disability pensions under the Pension Law, or with regard to the 2,339 people who received disability benefits under the Law to Assist Families of the War Dead or War Disabled, these have not been categorized according to their illness or injury, which means there is no way of knowing how many of them suffer from mental disorders.

 旧軍人・軍属の戦傷病者は戦傷病者特別援護法に基づき、一定程度以上の障害や療養の必要がある場合、戦傷病者手帳が交付されて医療給付などの援護を受けられる。国はこの医療給付受給者(07年度末で983人)のうちの精神障害者数は把握している。しかし、恩給法に基づく傷病恩給受給者(同22万9682人)や、戦傷病者戦没者遺族等援護法に基づく障害年金受給者(同2339人)では傷病別の人数は把握しておらず、どれだけの人が精神を病んだのかはわからない。

Masao Nakazawa, 71, psychiatrist and author of "Hibakusha no kokoro no kizu wo otte" (Delving into the troubled minds of A-bomb victims), says that the world became aware of problems such as "shell shock" and "battle fatigue" when large numbers of World War I soldiers began to suffer from psychological distress. When similar aftereffects were observed among many Vietnam veterans, the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was born. In Japan, however, mental suffering of this kind gained attention only after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, and studies of people who have experienced war have been long neglected.

 「ヒバクシャの心の傷を追って」の著書がある精神科医の中沢正夫さん(71)によると、第一次世界大戦で兵士に精神的破綻(はたん)者が続出し、「戦争神経症」「戦闘疲弊症」として一定の把握はなされたという。ベトナム戦争帰還兵に同様の後遺症が多発したため、米国ではPTSD(心的外傷後ストレス障害)の概念も生まれた。しかし、日本で心の傷が広く注目されたのは阪神大震災が契機とされ、戦争体験者が対象の研究は長年放置されてきたといえる。

With regard to civilian victims, a small district of Nagasaki is the only place that has even bothered to confirm their existence. Just this fiscal year, Hiroshima launched an investigation into the psychological effects of the bomb. "The effects of the atomic bomb, still eating away at the minds and bodies of the hibakusha, have for decades been so underestimated," said Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba in this summer's peace declaration. Victims not only of the atomic bomb, but of the many fire bombings that took place all over Japan, have also been left to suffer in neglect.

 なかでも被爆者ら民間人の精神的被害となると、長崎の一部地域を除いて把握すらされなかった。広島市は今年度から、ようやく原爆による精神的影響の調査に乗り出した。今夏の平和宣言で、広島市の秋葉忠利市長は「被爆者の心身を今なお苛(さいな)む原爆の影響は永年にわたり過小評価され」てきたと語った。原爆だけでなく、各地で空襲を受けるなどした民間人の被害も同様に放置されてきたと言える。

It is probably too late to reveal all of the facts through an investigation. Too many of the sufferers and their relations have died. However, the burden on the families of remaining sufferers is great and calls are growing for discussion about the need for more social relief. For example, the sister-in-law of the long-hospitalized woman earlier mentioned has been digging into her own pension for years in order to send money to her husband's sister. A reticent woman, it took many efforts to persuade her to speak with me at all: "Well, if it will be of some help in telling future generations about the war," she finally said. I, for one, believe that we must redouble our efforts to document the reality of war, as a lesson toward a better future. ("As I See It," by Hiromi Makino, Osaka City News Department)

 今となっては、調査に乗り出しても全容解明は難しい。患者や関係者が次々と死亡しているからだ。しかし、精神科病棟の女性の兄嫁が年金から仕送りを続けるように、親族にとって患者を抱える負担は重く、社会的救済について議論が必要だ。また、この兄嫁は「戦争を後世に伝えるのに、少しでも役に立つなら」と重い口を開いてくれた。これからでもできる限り戦争の実相を記録し、未来への教訓につなげるよう努力しなければと考えている。

毎日新聞 2008129日 東京朝刊

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