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2009年11月12日 (木)

社説:即位20年 「象徴天皇」へ実践重ね

(Mainichi Japan) November 12, 2009
Emperor opened new era for Imperial Family as symbol of state
社説:即位20年 「象徴天皇」へ実践重ね

A ceremony was held Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of Emperor Akihito. We would like to express our congratulations to His Majesty.
 天皇陛下即位20年の記念式典が12日催される。お祝い申し上げたい。

Over the past 20 years, the Emperor has pursued how he should function as the symbol of the state and for the unity of the people as defined by the post-war Constitution. He has also blown fresh air into the Imperial Family and appears to have established his own style as symbol of state.
 この20年はたゆまず「象徴天皇」のあり方を求め、実践を積み重ねられた年月だった。それは平成の皇室に新しい風をもたらし、そして時を経るにつれて確かなかたちを成してきたように見える。

Emperor Akihito is the first Emperor to accede to the Imperial Throne under the current Constitution. On the occasion of his enthronement, the Emperor declared that he will "uphold the Constitution of Japan with the people and fulfill my duties in accordance with it (the Constitution)."
 陛下は象徴天皇制の現憲法下で初めて即位した天皇であり、即位に当たってはまず「皆さんとともに日本国憲法を守り、これに従って責務を果たすこと」を表明した。

The interpretation of "an Emperor as the symbol of the state and for the unity of the people" had not been established by the time he acceded to the throne.
 しかし、象徴天皇といっても必ずしも成熟した概念ではなく、そのまま引き継ぐものが用意されていたわけではない。

His father, Emperor Showa, assumed the throne when an Emperor was defined by the Meiji Constitution as the ruler of the country, and became the symbol of Japan after the current Constitution was enacted after World War II.
昭和天皇は統治の主権者から象徴天皇へと制度転換をはさんで在位した。

Even though the Imperial Household Agency attempted to make the Imperial Family open to the public, the people had an image that Emperor Showa was a sovereign lord. In that sense, Emperor Akihito has been in a position to open a new era for the Imperial Family.
「開かれた皇室」が進められたが、国民のイメージには「君主」的なものも一部重なっていた。その意味で陛下は皇室の新しい時代を開く立場にあった。

At a news conference prior to a ceremony Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary, Emperor Akihito cited the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as the most impressive event he has seen since he assumed the throne. His enthronement coincided with the beginning of turbulent changes going on in the world.
 陛下は今回の記者会見でこの20年について「まず浮かぶのはベルリンの壁の崩壊(1989年)です」と振り返る。今に至る世界の激動の転換期に皇位継承が重なった。

The Emperor has been active in a wide diversity of fields. As a symbolic Emperor who is supposed to pray for peace and the happiness of the people, Emperor Akihito has visited sites of battles during World War II to console the souls of the war dead. Since he acceded to the throne, the Emperor has visited more than 30 countries to promote international friendship. He is also enthusiastic about supporting disabled people as is shown by his efforts to promote sports events for the disabled.
 行動は多岐にわたる。平和を祈り、人々の幸福を願う象徴天皇の原点に立ち、戦争犠牲者慰霊の戦跡巡りを国内外に続ける。友好親善の海外訪問は即位後でも30カ国を超えた。障害者スポーツの振興などハンディを負う人たちの支援に熱意を注ぐ。

His actions have been occasionally inconsistent with the Imperial Family's custom and ideas. For example, when he visited shelters for disaster victims and nursing care homes, the Emperor and the Empress often sat on the floor, took victims' hands and talked with them. Such actions by the Imperial Couple initially surprised people around him.
 過去の皇室の慣習、発想と相いれないこともあった。例えば、被災地や福祉施設で皇后さまとひざを屈し人々の中に入り、手を取り話をするという光景は当初周囲を驚かせた。

Before delivering speeches at national athletic meets and tree-planting ceremonies, the Emperor reportedly sat up late at night frequently to review and brush up the manuscripts.
 また国民体育大会や植樹祭など行事であいさつがあった時は、原稿は自ら何度も書き直し、深夜に及ぶことも珍しくなかったという。

Over the past 20 years, there have been numerous global challenges caused by the end of the Cold War, the advent of the information-oriented era, ethnic and religious conflicts, terrorism, environmental destruction and famine. A sense of political and economic uncertainty is prevailing in Japan as a result of the aging of the population, the declining birthrate, the recession and high unemployment rates.
 この20年、世界は冷戦終結、情報化、民族・宗教対立とテロ、環境破壊と飢餓など難題があふれる。日本も少子高齢化、不況と就職難など政治経済とも不安定感の中にある。

When asked about his views on these challenges at the recent news conference, he answered, "I'm rather concerned that past history may be gradually forgotten."
 会見でこの現状と将来について見方を問われた陛下は「むしろ心配なのは次第に過去の歴史が忘れられていくのではないかということです」と答えた。

"The 60-plus years of the Showa Era taught us many lessons. I believe it is essential for us to learn from the historical facts and prepare ourselves for the future," he continued.
そして「昭和の六十有余年は私どもにさまざまな教訓を与えてくれます。過去の歴史的事実を十分に知って未来に備えることが大切と思います」という考え方を示した。

His efforts to keep in mind painful lessons learned from the past and fully utilize the lessons reflect His Majesty's distinctive attitude.
 過去を切り離さず、その痛ましい教訓を常に忘れず生かす。この姿勢がまた大きな特徴といえるだろう。

There are many challenges in the Imperial Family, such as how to ensure a stable Imperial succession system in the future. There may be calls for a review of the role that the Imperial Family should play. It is important for the people to consider and discuss how the Imperial Family should function.
 一方、将来の安定した皇位継承システムなど皇室をめぐる課題は少なくない。次の時代はさらに新しい皇室のありようが求められるかもしれない。国民が皇室のあり方を考え、広く論じ合うことが肝要だろう。

毎日新聞 2009年11月12日 東京朝刊

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