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2009年1月 6日 (火)

社説:09年チェンジ オバマ政権 のびやかな日米関係に 近現代史の知識を広げよう

(Mainichi Japan) January 5, 2009

Looking to the past to boost Japan-U.S. alliance for future

社説:09年チェンジ オバマ政権 のびやかな日米関係に 近現代史の知識を広げよう


"I hate talking about the past," are the words of a Japanese student in Seoul. After a year of language study in South Korea, the student had become capable of communicating fairly well with the friendly Korean students that she had met. Once in a while, talk turns to Japanese-Korean tensions over differing perspectives on history.

 「昔の話がいちばんキライ!」。ソウルで会った日本人女子学生の言葉である。少し説明を要する。

 1年近い語学留学の結果、彼女は地元の親切な男子学生たちとかなり意思疎通できるようになった。すると時々、歴史認識をめぐる日韓摩擦の話題が出る。

The student can't help but feel that the arguments of the Korean students who feverishly defend their views are one-sided, but she doesn't have the tools necessary to refute them.

興奮気味に話す韓国人学生の主張は一方的だと思えるのだが、反論できない。

"I didn't learn about it in school, and I don't know much history," the student said in her defense.

 「だって学校でも習わなかったし、昔のこと、あまり知らないから……」

She has grown increasingly frustrated, as her language skills are insufficient for her to throw any conversational curveballs. She feels her anger escalating toward Korean students who don't hold back in venting their side of the story but later act as nothing has happened. While this is not enough for her to fall out with her friends, recalling such incidents leaves her with a bad taste in her mouth. And her story is not an uncommon one.

 変化球で議論をかわすには会話能力が不足なので、もどかしいばかり。言いたいことを言って再び友好的な笑顔に戻る韓国人学生に怒りが募り、仲たがいはしないものの思い出すと嫌な気分になるという。実はかなり頻繁にあるケースだ。

Japanese youth -- or rather, the majority of the post-war generation -- is lacking in an understanding of Japanese history from the Meiji period through Japan's defeat in the Pacific War. And at the core of this phenomenon lies the relationship between Japan and the U.S. Let us take a look at this issue in light of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20 (early on Jan. 21, Japan time).

 日本の若者、いや戦後世代の多くが、明治から太平洋戦争敗戦までの歴史知識に乏しい。あえて言えば根底には日米関係がある。米国で今月20日(日本時間21日未明)、オバマ新大統領が就任するのに向けて、この問題を考えてみたい。

 ◇同盟の懸念材料

First, with regards to international affairs, Obama has quite a bit of work cut out for him. In addition to the economic crisis, various challenges await him: acts of terrorism as well as conflicts in the Middle East that are causing unending bloodshed; the alarming possibility of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as exemplified by North Korea; and the world's scramble for food and energy resources.

 国際情勢から始めよう。オバマ氏の使命は重い。世界を揺るがしている経済危機だけでなく、テロや中東紛争での果てしない流血、北朝鮮に象徴される大量破壊兵器拡散の恐怖、食糧やエネルギー資源の争奪戦など、極めて深刻な課題が待ち受けている。

Of course, expectations are high, too. While President George W. Bush lost the world's trust through selfish diplomacy and an unjustified war in Iraq, there is hope that Obama, who knocked down the barriers of race on a platform of "change," will bring about a shift, that he will effectively use America's cultural and spiritual soft power to strike a chord of international cooperation with people around the world.

 もちろん期待も高い。ブッシュ大統領は身勝手な外交や大義なきイラク戦争で世界の信頼を失ってしまったが、「チェンジ」を叫んで人種の壁を破ったオバマ氏なら流れを変えられるのではないか。米国の文化的、精神的なソフトパワーを発揮して、心に響く国際協調のハーモニーを奏でてくれるのではないか。


Yet, there are mounting fears in Japan. As the fight against terrorism shifts its focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, there is no doubt that Obama will be asking allies for support. And when he does, will Japan be able to respond?

 だが日本では懸念も広がっている。イラクからアフガニスタンに軸足を移す予定の対テロ戦で、オバマ政権が同盟国に支援を求めるのは確実だろう。この要請に日本は応えられるか。

Public order in Afghanistan has declined enormously. And some predict that, unlike when it sent the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, if Japan decides against sending its SDF troops to Afghanistan, the U.S. will request vast sums of financial support instead.

 アフガンの治安はひどく悪化している。イラクのような自衛隊派遣はできないとなった場合、米国は巨額の費用負担を求めるという見方がある。

Japanese citizens suffering from the recession will be appalled by the amount, and if Obama also shows a lack of sensitivity to Japan regarding North Korea's nuclear program and the abduction issue, worsening Japanese sentiment toward the U.S. is inevitable.

 その金額に、不況に苦しむ日本国民が驚き、さらにオバマ政権が北朝鮮の核問題や日本人拉致問題で日本への配慮を欠いたりすると、対米感情が悪化するのは避けられまい。

From the start, the Japan-U.S. alliance has been somewhat shaky. The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is an alliance between a country that came out victorious in the Pacific War and another that was defeated. The unique set-up, in which the U.S. is entrusted with the core elements of the alliance while Japan allows the U.S. to operate large scale military bases on its land, has been maintained within a backdrop of resignation that such an arrangement is unavoidable because Japan lost the war, and the argument that being able to develop economically without having to spend money on a military is ideal.

 もともと日米同盟には危うい側面がある。安保条約は太平洋戦争の勝者と敗者の同盟だ。安全保障の根幹を米国に任せ、日本国内で広大な米軍基地の運用を認めるという特殊な状況は、戦争に負けたのだから仕方がないというあきらめや、軍備にカネをかけず経済発展できるのは結構なことだといった主張も背景に維持されてきた。

Meanwhile, however, ill will regarding the events leading up to the war, the dropping of the atomic bombs, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, and conflicts within Japan still linger and occasionally resurface. The incident last year in which a top official in the Air Self-Defense Force released an essay that included a sloppy theory of an American conspiracy is just one example of such enduring tensions.

 しかし、開戦に至る経緯や原爆投下、東京裁判などをめぐって、米国へのわだかまりや日本内部の対立が今も残り、時には表面化する。航空自衛隊のトップが、粗雑な米国陰謀説を含む論文を発表した昨年の事件は、その一例だろう。

There are also cases in which such antagonism is not expressed openly. President Bush has made repeated statements in which he equates the bombing of Pearl Harbor with the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. While many Japanese have been offended by the suggestion, most have kept quiet. This troubling relationship between Japan and the U.S. is what makes teaching history in our schools such a difficult task.

 表に出ない場合もある。ブッシュ大統領は日本の真珠湾攻撃と9・11テロを同列に扱う発言を続けた。不快に思っても日本人はおおむね沈黙した。学校での近現代史教育を難しくしている重要な一因は日米関係のこういう悩ましさである。

From the U.S. perspective, too, however, the Japan-U.S. Alliance is not rock-solid. In his recent book, "Pacific Alliance: Reviving U.S.-Japan Relations," Kent E. Calder, a student of Edwin O. Reischauer, who was a Japan scholar and a former U.S. ambassador to Japan, points out that as military integration was furthered via the alliance, the network of politicians, businesspeople, and intellectuals who supported the alliance languished. The number of Chinese Americans has grown to over three times the number of Japanese Americans, and Japanese influence in the world and American interest in Japan has diminished.

 一方、米側から見ても日米同盟は盤石ではない。安保条約による軍事面での統合が深まる一方、同盟を支える政治、経済、文化の人的ネットワークはひどく劣化した。中国系米国人が日系の3倍以上に増えた。日本の影響力も米国からの関心も希薄化している。日本研究でライシャワー元駐日大使の弟子にあたるケント・E・カルダー氏の近著「日米同盟の静かなる危機」(渡辺将人訳、ウェッジ刊)の指摘である。

A young American man who is fluent in Japanese said that he was having trouble finding work in Washington that meets his criteria. He says that there are countless good job openings for China specialists as a result of China's explosive economic growth and the rapidly intensifying ties between China and the U.S. "It was a mistake to study Japan," he said in Japanese, smiling wryly. "I lacked foresight."

 そういえば、ワシントンで会った日本語に堪能な米国人青年は、希望するレベルの就職先が少なくて困っていた。中国の爆発的な経済成長と米中交流の急拡大を背景に、中国専門家なら良い条件のポストがいくらでもあるという。「日本研究を専攻したのは失敗でした。先見の明がありませんでしたね」。日本語でそう言って、苦笑いした。

 ◇まず知ることから

The bottom line is this. In spite of some troubling aspects in the relationship between Japan and the U.S., the Japan-U.S. Alliance is extremely important. This is especially true now, a time when North Korea refuses to abandon its nuclear program and Russia and China's proclivity for ambition is becoming increasingly evident. However, there is not enough interest in the Japan-U.S. Alliance among the public. Our relationship with the Obama administration is an ideal opportunity to develop a better awareness and understanding of our history and relationships.

 結論を述べよう。悩ましい側面があっても日米同盟は重要である。北朝鮮が核計画を放棄せず、ロシアや中国の野心的な動向が目立つ現状ではなおさらだ。ところが日米同盟の実態と意味について一般国民の関心は十分でない。オバマ政権との付き合いを機に認識を深めることが望ましい。

At the same time, it is crucial that we teach the fundamentals of modern Japanese and world history in our schools, and for adults to gain an accurate understanding of Japan's dog-eat-dog imperialist era, how the country flourished, and eventually suffered defeat. Without this knowledge, we run the risk of being consumed with misinformed fury and lapsing into the kind of nationalism that once ruined Japan.

 同時に進めるべきは、日本と世界の近現代史の基礎を学校でしっかり教え、大人も学ぶことだ。弱肉強食の帝国主義時代、日本がどのように興隆し、敗亡したのかを正しく把握しておきたい。その知識がないと、偏った情報を根拠に怒りをたぎらせ、かつて日本を滅ぼしたようなナショナリズムに陥る危険がある。

One hopes for a more open, unconstrained relationship with the U.S. To achieve this, we must let go of any lingering grievances. It will probably take a long time. But first, let us learn about the past.

 米国との関係を、もっとのびやかなものにしたい。そのためには、わだかまりを解かねばならない。おそらく長い年月がかかる。まずは「昔の話」をきちんと知ろうという提言である。

毎日新聞 200914日 東京朝刊

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