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2011年4月 7日 (木)

低汚染水放出―政治がもっと責任担え

2011/04/07
--The Asahi Shimbun, April 6
EDITORIAL: Kan owes world explanation for pumping radioactive water in sea
低汚染水放出―政治がもっと責任担え

The government's decision to pump radioactive water out of the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean was far too grave to be explained simply as "unavoidable."
 「やむを得ない」という一言で片づけるには、あまりにも重大な事態である。

We saw little indication of the administration's dilemma over it. Moreover, the administration did an appallingly sloppy job of explaining its decision to the nation as well as the rest of the world.
それにしては決断した政権の苦渋が見えず、内外への説明も到底足りない。

Work has begun at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to pump out low-level radioactive water into the ocean. The stated purpose of this exercise is to "prevent greater damage" by getting rid of low-level radioactive water to secure space for storage and containment of high-level radioactive water at the plant.
But under normal circumstances, resorting to such a measure would be simply out of the question.
 原子炉の冷却作業が難航している福島第一原発で、低濃度の放射能汚染水の海への放出が始まった。高濃度の汚染水の保管場所を確保し、「より大きな被害を防ぐための措置」とされるが、平時では決して許されない行為だ。

Tokyo condemned Moscow in the past, when Russia dumped into the Sea of Japan low-level nuclear waste generated at a nuclear submarine base.
 日本政府はかつて、ロシアが原子力潜水艦基地の低レベル廃棄物を日本海で投棄した際、厳しく批判した経緯がある。

And Japan supported the revision of the "London Convention," which was aimed at preventing maritime pollution and the dumping of waste, and later amended to include low-radioactive waste in the list of banned substances.
 それを受けて、ロンドン条約が、船舶などからの海洋投棄の禁止対象に低レベルも含むよう改正した際にも賛成した。

This is all the more reason why the Japanese government definitely owes the international community a detailed explanation of how it reached its latest decision and what further measures it intends to take.
 それだけに今回、放出に踏み切った理由と今後の対策について、国際的にもより厳しい説明責任が求められるはずだ。

Japan has deeply offended its neighbor, South Korea, by not consulting with it beforehand.
 隣国の韓国は「事前の協議がなかった」と反発している。

But more to the point, the government was too insensitive to the international community's growing concerns about the unfolding nuclear crisis in Fukushima.
 それでなくとも厳しさを増す国際社会の視線に鈍感すぎるのではないか。

Prime Minister Naoto Kan and others should have called an immediate news conference and explained in detail the circumstances and the reasons that led to the decision.
 菅直人首相自らが会見し、経緯や状況、決断の根拠を詳しく説明すべきだった。

With any hope of an early containment of the nuclear crisis now gone, the Kan administration's crisis management ability is being severely tested.
 長期化が避けられない今回の原発危機で、問われているのは政権の危機管理能力である。

The prime minister's job is to expect every contingency, double- and triple-check the soundness of his plans, provide speedy and accurate information to the nation and the rest of the world, and establish a comprehensive strategy to ensure that all available resources are put to effective use.
 あらゆる事態を想定し、二重三重に備えを図る。国内外に迅速で的確な情報を発信する。その総合戦略を組み立て、持てる力を結集する態勢を構築することこそ、首相の仕事である。

Reportedly, the idea of pumping contaminated water from the Fukushina plant into the ocean was suggested by Tokyo Electric Power Co., and the government decided to proceed with it after consulting the Nuclear Safety Commission.
 今回の汚染水放出は、東京電力の打診を受けた政府が、原子力安全委員会の助言を得て決断したという。

Was the final decision reached after every possible option had been examined thoroughly? The nuclear emergency response headquarters is headed by Kan, and the government and TEPCO have formed an ad hoc joint headquarters to deal with the crisis. Did all the members concerned share and examine carefully their expert opinions?
 首相が本部長を務める原子力災害対策本部や、政府と東電が一体で危機管理にあたる統合本部で、関係者が十二分に問題意識を共有し、可能な限りの選択肢を考え抜いたうえで、最終判断を下したのだろうか。

The opinions of on-site personnel matter a lot, but our impression is that the government took a back seat even though it is ultimately responsible for a decision of this magnitude. From what we understand, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano left it to TEPCO to provide a detailed plan of action, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which overseas the fishing industry, was left completely out of the loop.
 現場の考えは大切だが、最終的な責任を負うべき政治の影が薄い。枝野幸男官房長官は詳細な説明を東電に任せ、漁業を所管する農林水産省には事前の連絡はなかったという。

And the support system of nuclear experts to assist the administration is not adquate. Besides government organs, there should also be businesses, universities and public research institutes--such as the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences--participating actively in a comprehensive support system.
 政治を支える専門家の支援態勢も、いまだ十分とはいえない。政府機関だけでなく、日本原子力研究開発機構や放射線医学総合研究所などの公的研究機関や産業界、大学など、国をあげた強力な態勢が必要だ。

But the Nuclear Safety Commission should still occupy center stage. The commission's presence has been dimmed since the accident at the Fukushima plant, but it must live up to its intended role as the nation's nuclear safety watchdog.
 その際、前面に立つべきは、やはり原子力安全委であろう。事故発生以来、その存在感は薄いが、安全のお目付け役としての本来の役割を果たしてもらわなければならない。

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